Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patricks Day to all.

St. Patricks Day this year turned out to be rather special. It is March Break here in Ontario, which means that the Grandbabies had a week off school. Luna and Janus brought them all to visit their Auntie Terra and Uncle Lares for a few days. They invited me to join them visiting a sugar shack at a conservation area today, and since I always love seeing the Grandbabies, I accepted the invitation.

I drove Tank to the Conservation Area, I was taking no chances on ruining their day. If my knee gave out, I would be able to transport myself home immediately, without needing assistance or having to interrupt their outing. Elf decided he wanted to ride with me in Tank, so we spent a half an hour chatting during our trip there. It is always interesting listening to the perspective of an eight year old. We talked about many things, and he had a lot of questions. I told him what I thought, he told me what he thought, we both enjoyed ourselves!

There was a lot of walking during the outing, and I declined ascending a steep set of stairs to observe an exhibit at the top of a ridge. By that time I had walked some distance, and had been standing for over an hour. I felt it was best not to push my luck. A good time was had by all. As we prepared to leave, I invited them all for supper, and it was decided that this would be a grand idea. So the three Grandbabies hopped into Tank with me, and off we went, while the other adults headed off to do various errands before making their way to my house.

We had a great time singing as we drove back to the little house in the city. When we arrived the Grandbabies immediately found our stash of toys and got busy entertaining themselves. I headed down to the freezer and found some meat to make a spaghetti sauce. Everyone enjoyed a big spaghetti dinner, and then they all bundled themselves into their van and set off for the three hour journey home.

The only down side of the visit was that Attila was not here to see them, they asked where he was over and over again. I gave them all big hugs for him, which was fun.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:00 PM EDT Tuesday 17 March 2015
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dewpoint: -12.7°C
Humidity: 37%
Wind: NNW 31 gust 54 km/h


“All things great are wound up with all things little.”
L. M. Montgomery
1874 – 1942

Rambling: on the ground and the page.

I have been rambling about this week.

Thursday I had a lovely and relaxing visit with Harriet and my cousin Sali, and Sali’s husband and son. We spent a lovely day sitting in the sun, and chatting, catching up on news, making acquaintance. Just one of those quiet days that shine in memory. Hogan was busy, he felled several trees, sectioned them, cleared the brush, pulled out the stumps, and filled the holes that were left with gravel, which he brought back in his pickup truck from the local gravel yard.

Friday was quiet for me, catching up on housework, paying bills. The paying of bills was particularly satisfying, as I had been robbing Peter to pay Paul since we paid for the driveway at the camp. So, finally paying all the bills cleared away those little bits of worry that settle into my subconscious when I have to juggle my books.

Attila, well he is working 12 hour days, five days a week. Saturdays are supposed to be short days, but they are so busy that he heads in for 5:30 a.m. to get ahead of things before things get really busy, and then works late to catch things up to the point where he can feel relaxed on his Sunday off, and not worry about Monday morning.

Saturday I worked at the greatest little location! I love this location, the “boss” is super organized, knows her stuff, and is positive, exacting, and considerate. The customers are relaxed, friendly, and always pleasant, even if things aren’t going exactly as they would like. While I was there, Harriet and Ariel dropped in to say hello. They were on their way to obtain drinking water for Harriet’s cottage. It was lovely to see them, and Ariel even ran into an old acquaintance.

Saturday afternoon Attila came home from work at 2:00 p.m. This is so rare, it was a real treat! We packed up the car and headed for the little house in the city. The drive was beautiful, sunny and mild, everything green, green, green! The traffic was insane, people doing silly things, impatient things, dangerous things. As soon as we left the area where the affluent recreate, the traffic, and driver behaviour, improved.

We arrived at the little house well before dark. There was a sprinkling of rain, but Attila was determined to get the grass cut on Saturday, so he began the task immediately. It took him an hour and half, and it was almost dark by the time the job was complete. I had a hot meal waiting for him when he came in. We had beet greens with our dinner, which we regard as a real treat. The farm that is close to the little house in the city, and along our travel route, had two bunches of beets and a zucchini left for sale. We bought it all!

So, Attila’s Saturday began at 5:00 a.m., when he arose to get ready to go in to work for 5:30 a.m. He worked till 2:00 p.m., then came home, packed the car, changed, then he drove until about 7:30 p.m. When he arrived at the little house, he cut the lawn for an hour and half, and finally sat down to dinner and rest at 9:00 p.m. And not one grumpy moment!

Sunday morning we slept in until 7:00 a.m., had a peaceful chat as we drank our morning coffee, and enjoyed a big breakfast. Then Luna, Janus and the Grandbabies arrived for a short visit. They had been camping at Lake Placid, and were on their way home, and had spending the night with Terra and Lares. Terra and Lares dropped in soon after Luna and gang arrived, so we were all here.

Oh how we love those Grandbabies!

I have always been like this, and known it. My children, and now my Grandbabies, were, and are, the most beautiful children in the world. When my daughter’s were born I even felt sorry for the other Moms, whose babies were so red and wrinkly, while my baby was so very cute. I could see such a difference! I laugh at myself now, because I have pictures of the hospital nursery, where my daughters would lie in clear plastic tubs or “bassinets”, lined up with all the other newborns. Now I cannot tell which ones were my daughters, all the babies in the nurseries look the same!

The highlight of our visit with the Grandbabies was the short drive to Walmart. Now tall enough to be belted into a car without car seats, we could take them with us in our car; for the very first time in their lives! Luna and Janus and Benny and Bim lead the way in their van, while we followed with the Grandbabies. And how wonderful it was! We sang, as I had wanted to sing with them since they were born. I explained to them that their Great Grandmother had sung this song in the car with me, when I was a little girl.

When I was a child, the eldest of six children, the first five born about one year apart, our visits to Granny and Grandpa’s house involved a six hour car ride. That is a long trip, with five small children. My Mom used to keep us busy by playing games like I Spy, and singing songs with us. One of our favourite songs was “Paw-paw patch”.

As Attila and I drove down the road with the Grandbabies, we all sang, quite heartily, the “Paw-paw patch” song. It was so much fun! We all loved it.

After a bit of shopping at WalMart, for a birthday gift for a party they were attending later in the day, Luna and Janus, the Grandbabies, and the dogs, were off on their journey home. We waved goodbye in the Walmart parking lot, having had a lovely visit. We hope to see them again in August.

Attila and I headed to the grocery store for supplies, then back to the little house for a quick lunch. Attila decided to take a nap, while I puttered in the kitchen, and pulled a few weeds out of the gardens.

The vegetable garden is doing very well, in particular the tomatoes and the cucumbers. The healthiest plants are those next to the few marigolds we planted in the vegetable garden. The peppers are struggling a bit, competing with the weeds, portulaca the non-flowering weed, hogweed, and bindweed. Also, in the backyard, our clematis and marigolds are thriving and blooming. All of this with so very little attention and care!

Cucumbers love marigolds!
The clematis surprised us with these blooms!

The front garden, where we planted flowering portulaca, is doing very well. The hosta lilies and day lilies on either side of the front step are doing incredibly well.

Day lily!

So, here I am writing the last of this entry as we prepare for the drive back to the country house. It has been a busy week, good busy, wonderful busy, mostly up and a little bit of down because my knee still bothers me a bit.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 1:47 PM EDT Sunday 20 July 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 21.8°C
Dewpoint: 18.0°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: SE 9 km/h
Humidex: 28


“One’s age should be tranquil, as childhood should be playful. Hard work at either extremity of life seems out of place. At midday the sun may burn, and men labor under it; but the morning and evening should be alike calm and cheerful.”
Dr. Thomas Arnold

There and Back Again

The ice storm last weekend was spectacular! Not here of course, we experienced a slight drizzle of ice that had little effect. We know about the incredible ice storm only because we drove through the aftermath on our trip down to the little house in the city.

On Christmas Eve Day we headed out in the early morning for the little house in the city. The roads were cleared by then, and the sun shone brightly. As we travelled south we entered a fairyland of glitter and sparkle. The ice was more than a inch thick on all the trees, grasses, everything! The sunlight lit up the landscape such that I have never seen before. It was a joy to behold.

We arrived safely on Christmas Eve. There was a two foot high, solid ice barrier across the end of the driveway. Attila began the long process of chipping out an opening for the car, to get the car off the road for the night. Soon Terra drove up in her car, and then Lares drove up in his van. We were delighted when they opened the back of the van to show us our Christmas present, from Terra and Lares, Luna and Janus, a hot water heater! And to make the present totally perfect, Lares proceeded to install it for us, on the spot! After the water heater was installed, Lares helped Attila remove ice from the driveway, to the point where we could park the car off the road. Then off they went to visit other relatives in the area.

We spent the rest of the evening watching A Christmas Carol, the 1951 version starring Alistair Sim. On Christmas Day we opened our presents under our tiny tree, enjoyed our morning coffee, and listened to Christmas Carols. Then we drove out to Terra and Lares place to share a wonderful breakfast with them, and Lare’s long-time friend Gamers, again enjoying the ice encased scenery during the trip. Terra’s house was beautiful. She had several small Christmas Trees that they harvested from the back bush, and a large one in the bay window at the front of the house. It was festive and warm and wonderful.

The next day Attila and I headed out to Terra and Lare’s place again. We arrived in time to prepare the dressing, dress the turkey, and get it into the oven. Then Lare’s Dad and partner arrived, and Luna and Janus and the Grandbabies arrived, with Luna’s homemade cookies. Next Lare’s Grandmother arrived with her homemade rolls and apple pie, yum!

Terra’s house became to centre of our known universe for the next three days. Terra and Lares made us all feel welcome, safe, and warm.

And we had dogs, lots of dogs. First, the resident pooch, Dash, who was very pleased and excited to see all of us. Lare’s Dad’s dog, T-Bone, a good natured Bassett Hound arrived, much to Dash’s delight; they are best friends. Luna and Janus’s dogs Benny and Bim arrived. Benny is very good natured and affectionate. Bim is older now and easily overwhelmed by commotion. There were a lot of us, and we created a lot of commotion. Bim did very well, all things considered. Lare’s Grandmother’s dog Jeannie arrived next, another relaxed and good natured dog. And we also had cats, Terra’s three cats, who were not always enthusiastic about the dogs. Adults, kids, dogs, and cats everywhere, glorious.

We spent almost all waking hours visiting with Terra and Lares, and Luna, Janus, the Grandbabies and Gamers.

What fun to spend time with the the Grandbabies, Imp, Elf, and Tink!

This morning Attila removed most of the ice that remained on the driveway at the little house in the city. It was thick. The temperature today was above freezing, which facilitated breaking the ice into small enough chunks that they could be heaved aside. Most of the ice that had clung to the trees fell this morning as well, which means that there will be no further ice damage.

While Attila shovelled, I did made a whirlwind shopping trip, visiting five different stores, list in hand. When I returned from my shopping trip the drive was cleared. Attila and I ate a quick lunch, and then began the process of loading the car for the trip back to the country house. The very last carry out to the car was with Mist in her cage.

The trip home was uneventful. The roads were wet and clear, and dry and clear in spots. We encountered a wee bit of fog close to the country house. Although we were happy with the circumstances of our journey, Mist definitely was not. She yowled, mostly at the top of her lungs, through most of the journey. That is a lot of yowling! We brought her into the house as soon as we arrived home, and within five minutes she was ensconced on Attila’s seat and sleeping peacefully. Home sweet home.

The electric heaters kept the country house cozy and warm, so we arrived to comfort. The first fire is in the masonry heater, the car is unpacked, our belongings are put away, and we are beginning to wind down and relax.

Our time away passed in the blink of an eye!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 PM EST Saturday 28 December 2013
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dewpoint: -0.5°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: SSW 8 km/h


“It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.”
John Andrew Holmes

Sweat Equity: How we spent our autumn vacation… again! Week Two

Sweat Equity: How we spent our autumn vacation… again!

The Bathroom Renovation

Sunday, September 8, Day Eight

A beautiful sunny day! After breakfast Attila and I got busy. I headed for the city and the big box stores with a list. Attila worked on framing in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and installing the drywall around the opening.

Then, after a quick lunch, we jumped in the car and headed out to Terra and Lares place for a visit. They have a wonderful view from their house, overlooking a vista of open water.

I washed laundry and hung it out to dry on Terra’s clothes line. There was a stiff breeze coming off the water, which really helped to dry the clothes while we were there.

Terra and I sat chatting for a bit, felt chilly and moved to the back yard, which is protected from the wind coming off the water. We had a lovely visit, Terra and I.

Attila and Lares headed for the bush on ATVs to cut firewood. They came back a few hours later with a load to be stacked. As Attila stacked wood, Lares and his brother proceeded to install a metal roof on the new wood shed, that Lares recently built.

After gathering in the dry laundry, and folding it, I found Attila, and off we went home to continue on our bathroom renovation. After we arrived home we ate a lovely supper of herbed fish, boiled new beets, boiled new potatoes and corn niblets. Right after our meal Attila was back in the bathroom mudding drywall and planning out the vanity plumbing for the next day.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another early morning, quick breakfast and right into the bathroom renovation. The vanity was brought into the bathroom for measuring, and discussion. It fits very nicely into the bathroom. We chose a vanity, and a sink, that are only twelve inches deep. The water tap will be installed to the left of the sink. Since the sink is so small there is no backsplash, which could create water problems as water splashes up when washing hands etc. We decided the that a backsplash is necessary behind the sink.

Attila finished installing the rest of the drywall around the vanity area, and finished caulking around the window.

The drywall around the vanity is installed, the caulking around the window is done and drywall mudding has begun.
DSCF3323 mudding and caulking

We spent the afternoon shopping. First we went to the building supply store in town to return a variety of plumbing hardware pieces we did not end up using. Then we filled our cart with PVC window trim, more caulking, window edging and other bits and bobs for the plumbing. Then we headed to the big box stores in the city to search out the materials we could not find at the local store.

We found a large rectangular tile that will serve well as a backsplash for the sink, at a big box store. Then we revisited the Restore and found a perfect globe for one of the ceiling fixtures, used, for $2.00 and a whole bag of screws and such like. The inventory changes daily at the Restore, so you just never know what you might find there!

One last visit to Winners to look for a shower curtain. Terra and Lares have a lovely shower curtain that is heavy gage and does not “float” around as the air moves while having a hot shower. I wanted to buy one just like it, but there were no more. I tried four different stores with no success. Then we visited Winners, and found a heavy gage shower liner that will do nicely, at a very reasonable price.

As far as materials are concerned, I think we are on the home stretch for the bathroom! Everything is new, either brand new or new to us. I am shocked at how many bits and bobs are involved in successfully installing a bathroom which is up to code!

What I am looking forward to most is having my first shower in the new bathroom. We are still several days work away from that goal!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Attila did more mudding and sanding this morning, then painted most of the walls with primer. After that dried he applied another coat of paint, in preparation for installing the tub surround. While paint dried Attila is busy with fiddly bits, like the layers required to finish the window, and the plumbing for the vanity. He likes to work on a lot of things at the same time, so he is in his element.

Attila offered to spend time temporarily installing the fixtures in the bathroom, so that I could have a bath. It was a tough decision for me, should I agree to what might be a significant delay in getting the tub truly functional with an installed surround and framed window; or should I bite the bullet, spot wash at the kitchen sink, let my hair do whatever it is doing while waiting for a good wash, and see the project through till this evening, when I might be able to take a more relaxing bath, in a finished tub. Either way, it is a gamble, so I opted to forging ahead with the tub surround, hoping to take a real bath at the end of the day.

Primer coat of paint applied, when it dried Attila will begin installing the tub surround!
DSCF3327 primer before tub surround

The five tomato plants in the garden have yielded quarts and quarts of ripe, luscious fruit. The yield is high enough that eating the tomatoes fresh just would not keep up with the supply. I peeled and quartered a few quarts into a saucepan. Since it is extremely hot and humid, the hot plate was set up on the back porch, and the tomatoes brought to a boil and cooled in the great outdoors. When they had cooled they were poured into a mason jar and refrigerated for a spaghetti sauce, to be made later in the week when the weather cools down.

We have a yellow jacket nest in the foundation of the house, just at the front corner, at the driveway where we park the car. They are a small and angry nest, very active and aggressive. Attila sprayed the next at night, but it is too deep within the foundation to reach with spray. I have devised a little plastic tunnel to place over the entry to the next, which will be lined with paper towels soaked with wasp spray. I am hoping that they will perish upon exit and entry. Tonight I will tack the tunnel over the entry point and see what happens tomorrow. My homemade device may or may not work, but it is worth a try.

My homemade yellow jacket tunnel of death.
DSCF3326 homemade wasp tunnel of death

Yellow Jackets are our next unwelcome housemates that need to be evicted. We rid the house of chipmunks, mice and now we are working towards evicting all the Yellow Jacket wasps. We will be using trial and error methods until we succeed.

I got my bath!

The tub surround is almost on! When the last panel is installed, Attila will temporarily install the faucet and tap handle, so that I can take a bath!
DSCF3331 tub surround install

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The vacation progresses.

The bathroom is taking shape, slowly but surely. At the end of the today, this is what we are looking at.
DSCF3339 tub surround almost

Attila spent the day mudding and painting in the bathroom. There is still much to be done.

To be installed still:
medicine cabinet
roof vent for fan
ceiling fan
ceiling light
one small section of drywall
window trim
tub fixtures permanently installed
ceiling trim
new heating vent

And we need to:
paint floor
paint walls

By Saturday, our last full day here, it may be possible to take a shower! I truly hope so!

The sink and vanity still need to be installed. The roof vent for the fan needs to be installed. The rest of the drywall, one small panel, needs to be installed. The tub surround needs to be caulked. The window trim needs to be installed.

He also dismantled an Ikea child’s bed that Luna and Janus had donated to our little house. The Grandbabies haven’t slept here since, so it is not really needed here, in this tiny house. However, Terra’s new house is huge, and she does have quite a few visitors, so we decided to re-donate the bed to Terra. Attila delivered it to Terra’s house in the afternoon.

The weather was hot and muggy, truly ugly weather in my book. We have not been cooking indoors the last few days due to the hot weather. While out “go-fering” on the bathroom project, which is how I am spending my vacation, I found my ideal propane BBQ. It is a Napoleon BBQ, small, with a side burner. The side burner is a must, so that we can easily cook outside when the weather it hot. I have “champagne taste, and a beer bottle budget, as they say. The Napoleon BBQ cost $599 on sale. I stopped to look at it again.

As I was heading for the check out counter with my small purchase for the bathroom, I bumped into a row of propane BBQs that were on sale. And there, in a stacked box, was a small BBQ with a side burner for $139. It wasn’t a high quality item, but I knew it would work for us, possibly for a decade or more. I asked a clerk for help getting the box onto a cart, and then into the car. Then I headed home with my shopping list complete, a laundry tub for the basement and a propane BB@.

The rest of my day was spent in the back yard assembling said BBQ, it took hours and hours to build it from the box. When I was finished Attila immediately used the burner to fry potatoes, onions and peppers, and at the same time BBQ a few hot dogs. Now we can cook outdoors when it is hot. Attila loves to cook, no instant food for him, not if he can help it. This will make him very happy for many years to come.

At the end of the day we headed out to Terra and Lares house for dinner and a visit. Dinner was delicious, Terra makes a terrific macaroni and cheese! And then we watched the light show, lightning! There was a storm warning in effect, so we sat in the cooling evening, enjoying the breeze, the crickets and the flashing skies. The storm didn’t arrive in full force, so we had the show without the consequences.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Attila painted the floor area where the vanity was to be installed, installed the vanity, the sink, the sink faucet, the sink backsplash, the medicine cabinet, and hooked up the water supply.

Things are beginning to come together int he bathroom. The vanity, sink and plumbing were installed today. The medicine cabinet went in, and part of the window trim was installed. We need more trim, I will have to “go-fer” it tomorrow!
DSCF3343 sink lights

Attila also installed the ceiling light fixture, and completed the installation of the wall mounted lights.

While Attila was busy with the nitty gritty of the renovation, I went shopping, that is Terra and I went shoppiong. Well, not exactly shopping, because what I really wanted to do was to take the very, very large and heavy CRT television, given to us by Luna and Janus, to be recycled. I tried to give it away at the Salvation Army store, but they would not take it and suggested the Restore down the road, where they recieve old televisions for recycling. The Restore accepted it gladly and even moved it out of the car for me, as it was well beyond my capability to get it out of trunk.

While at the Restore I purchased a case of very inexpensive exterior caulking, which we will use to seal the bottom of the siding, and other openings where wasps enter and build nests. Terra, on the other hand, made a fantastic find of a truly beautiful dining room light fixture. It was a real bargain, at $10! She also purchased trim for her living room door. We headed home after that, to see what Attila had accomplished.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The day began with a quick trip to the building center, for more window trim and some light bulbs. Attila finished mudding and sanding the last wall of the bathroom.

The trim on the window was completed and caulked, to seal it well as it is located in the shower! The ceiling trim was installed, and another coat of paint was applied to the walls.

Attila cut the lawn today, for the first time since we arrived. Just in time it was, because we are leaving the day after tomorrow. While the lawn was being cut, I grabbed a bucket of hot soapy water and washed the car and hub caps. The car was very, very dirty!

Attila finished off his evening by applying yet another layer of paint on the walls, installing the shower curtain, installing the shower head, and permanently installing the tub fixtures. His goal is that it will be ready for my first shower tomorrow morning! Go, Attila, Go!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

First thing this morning I hung the shower curtain, and had a hot shower! Oh, the luxury!

I can see that we will need to cover the window while showering, for two reasons. First and foremost, to protect the window from water, which bounces off the body. Second, for privacy. As I stood showering I could watch all the business of the neighbourhood, the window is level with my neck, allowing me a great view. However, if I can see them, they can see me, and I do not fancy making eye contact with a neighbour as I am shampooing my hair.

This is the last day of our vacation. Attila was under orders: no renovating! We ate a leisurely breakfast, relaxed with our morning coffee and decided to visit a nearby provincial park. A picnic lunch was packed.

Just as we were ready to go, Attila suggested we paint the the bathroom floor so that it could dry while we were away. I couldn’t resist, the paint has to be applied in three coats. So, coat one went on just before we walked out the door, so that it would be dry when we got back from our outing.

The day was perfect. The sun shone brightly, the bright blue sky stretched endlessly into the distance and clouds floated lazily in gauzy strips.

We paid our fee and stopped along the roadside in the park, to peruse the map and choose a hiking trail. The first trail we walked was 2 km long. It took us through cedar woods, and along an inland stream.

Looking down on the stream from a lookout point.
DSCF3385 sand dunes

After our hike, we were ready for our picnic. We found a table in the shade near the beach. The wind coming off the water was brisk and cold. There were people in bathing suits, but we were wearing jackets. The view was wonderful as we sat eating our sandwiches.

The view from our picnic table, as we were eating our picnic.
DSCF3474 the beach

The second trail we hiked was 2.5 km long and had some challenging sections through sand. It took us through dying pine forests, which are in the process of being destroyed by a type of wasp. We also hiked up and down and dunes, and along the side of a marsh. We were tired when we arrived back at the car, so we indulged in some lovely Coronation grapes, cool and delicious from our cooler.

After we arrived home I started up the BBQ for hamburgers, and we relaxed in front of the the telly (Youtube), watching an episode of Inspector Linley.

As I cleaned the BBQ and washed up the dishes, Attila dismantled the old vanity, which had been sitting in a heap in the back yard. The rotting boards were pile on the deck for later disposal and the sink stored int he garage until I have a chance to donate it to the Restore for reuse.

After relaxing for a short while, Attila was keen to get a few more small jobs done on the bathroom renovation. Tonight he will finish sanding the last wall and apply the primer paint. He will also apply caulking along the ceiling trim. Me, well I will be fast asleep as he goes to town on his projects. Terra is dropping in for a coffee after she finishes her night shift, and I want to be wide awake so that I can enjoy my time with her. Attila loves to sleep in, so that is how he can spend his morning. He will have earned it!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

We are rushing through our last few hours at the little house, our vacation is over. The renovation lives on, it has a life of its own. This morning I returned some of the materials we had purchased for a ceiling fan in the bathroom. That project will not be tackled this year. There are more parts to return, but I do not have the receipts with me, as they were purchased during my last lone visit to the little house, and the receipts are filed at the country house.

This morning I arose later than I had hoped, and missed a visit from Terra. She came after work, arriving about ten minutes before I woke up, and when we did not answer her knock, she headed home. I was disappointed that I had slept in! However, after working all night, it was probably a better idea for Terra to head home and get some rest.

Attila slept in, as he had stayed up late into the night finishing the sanding and ceiling trim. He spent the rest of the visit cutting the hole for the heating vent, and applying another coat of paint to the last wall. He tidied up his tools, and began to set things aside to be packed into the car for our long drive home. Just as we are leaving, Attila will apply another coat of floor paint to the bathroom floor; then there will only be one coat left to apply before it is finished.

We will still need a new shower curtain rod, the old one is badly worn, and baseboards. It is looking wonderful and bathing is an enjoyable experience for the first time in three years, since we purchased the house!

Well, here it is, white and wonderful! Still a few things to do, but nothing expensive and nothing crucial. It needs a curtain of sorts to protect the window during showers, and baseboards, and one more coat of paint on the floor. These are all “pick-up” jobs, in that they can be picked up and worked on, then put down and left as they are indefinitely. The high pressure renovation is over!!!! Hooray!
DSCF3543 bathroom Sept 15

I am unspeakably glad that the bathroom is all but finished. It ate up all but one day of our vacation. Thank goodness we managed a few visits with Terra and Lares, and one visit to a Provincial Park for a picnic.

The front porch was a non-starter. Renovations always take more time than estimated. The front porch will be the next project, but I am hoping it will not be the intricate, detailed and time consuming work that the bathroom renovation demanded.

So, we have the kitchen partially renovated, and the bathroom totally renovated. We have worked through the last four two week vacations renovating this house. I think we need some time away from this project next year!

The drive home was uneventful. Of course, our resident royalty felt that it was all a grave injustice, being consigned to a cage in the back seat for the duration of the trip. However, when we arrived home, she again strolled out of the cage, took a quick tour of her domain, and then settled in for a much needed nap. Complaining for hours is hard work for a cat!

It is chilly, 13C, and raining hard. Attila and I stopped in town to pick up our mail, and are now unloading our gear from the car. Attila carries it in, I put it away. The only calls we received while away were from the car dealership and Attila’s Mom, she sold her house! Congratulations to her! She will be moving closer to Attila’s brother and his wife and son.

And so ends the two week odyssey of the bathroom renovation. Attila says he feels he had no vacation, I feel the same way. But Attila also says he doesn’t feel he needs a vacation, and I do not feel the same way. I guess I will just have to find a vacation to take by myself.

One tomato, two potatoes, three…

All of the Grandbabies but one were born in September. That is four in the sign of Virgo and one in the sign of Cancer. Three of the Grandbabies are Luna’s children, and two of them are Emmi’s children. The Grandbabies range in age from one to seven years. We send cards and gift cards, which we hope they like. We do not spend enough time with any of them to know what they like and do not like, so the gift cards seem like the best idea. In theory, Mom takes them out to the store and lets them choose something they like, since she is there and we are not. Happy Birthday to all the Grandbabies!

As of early 2014 all of the Grandbabies will be living far, far away, in England and Alberta. To visit them we would need time off work and funds to pay for travel. Visits do not seem likely, given our restricted time and money situation.

The old General Store, the heart of a community, when there was such a thing.

I think I am going to get a real kick out of calling them Grandbabies when they are twenty years old. I sure hope I get the chance to do that! Something to look forward to in my “old age”.

The weather continues to be grand! The days are sunny, the temperature reaches only a merciful 23C or there about. The nights are cool, as cool as 5C. Heavenly! It could go on like this for months, as far as I am concerned.

I am keeping a secret journal at the moment, to be published later in September. Keeping two versions going is quite challenging; which is good for me, as changes, no matter how small, keep the juices flowing and the brain working.

We are eating garden and field tomatoes every day! How wonderful and lush these fresh and local tomatoes are, every mouthful juicy and sweet. And the new potatoes are on the shelves at the grocery store right now, mouthwatering. Food, glorious food!

I grew up during a time when, in Canada, a significant proportion of the population was still connected to the seasons, as far as their food supply was concerned. Harvest season, my favourite, involved canning, freezing and jam making. And that wasn’t just happening on the farm, most kitchens in the myriad of small towns in Ontario were busy putting food by for the winter. You could stop by the side of the road and buy bushels of fresh tomatoes, apples, beans, potatoes etc., all of it locally grown.

Attila and I still watch the roadsides for the produce stands of small scale farmers and gardeners. We have a few favourite stops along our favoured routes from the country house to the little house in the city, and from our little house in the city to Terra’s house. Most of these offer less than perfect looking, fresh and tasty produce. They also operate on an honour system, listing their prices and asking that payment be left in a box at the stand. There is no haggling. We gladly pay them what they ask, for the excellent products that we select and bag ourselves at the stand.

There are stands that sell produce from the Ontario Food Terminal, mostly in tourist towns and larger urban centers. We aren’t fooled! The food terminal produce doesn’t look the same, it is perfect and uniform in appearance. Not quite what you would expect from a real garden!

The fruits and vegetables my childhood family preserved were fresh from the garden and the farm, and processing captured them at their best. There were never lettuce salads on the table during the winter months, and bananas and oranges were Christmas treats rather than daily fare. Apples in the fall were wonderful, shrivelling and shrinking through the winter until they became a shrunken version of their former selves by spring. They still tasted sweet though, and were wonderful for cooking. Now, if it isn’t wrapped in plastic, or picture perfect, the young fail to appreciate it as legitimate food. In one generation we have lost all contact with one of life’s most basic resources. The hubris of the moneymakers is shaping the world we live in, and may be shaping our doom as well.

Our new car is already four years old! It sports the original windshield wipers, which are literally flapping in the wind and refusing to do a good job. They are demanding retirement. I finally purchased new ones this week and spent a bit of time learning how to remove the old and install the new. The method wasn’t obvious to me, but a after watching a youtube video on the subject, I proceeded through trial and error. They work!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 6:00 PM EDT Friday 6 September 2013
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 18.3°C
Dewpoint: 7.0°C
Humidity: 47%
Wind: WSW 13 km/h


“The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball – the further I am rolled, the more I gain.”
Susan B. Anthony
1820 – 1906