Squash

It is cloudy and cool today, but not cold.

Terra and Lares and the Grandbabies Sunny and Sky dropped by for a little visit on Hallowe’en night. They parked at our house and walked over to the upscale neighbourhood nearby to Trick Or Treat with the other families in their social circle. The night was cold, so they were not gone very long. When they arrived back the babies played while we chatted. Sunny and Sky are walking now, and are just the sweetest little people. I could not get a good picture of them, they move too fast for the camera now.

Yesterday, early in the morning, I carved our Hallowe’en pumpkin, the Jack O Lantern, into pieces small enough to fit into a large roasting pan. After the pumpkin was cooked and cooled, the flesh was scooped into the food processor where it was pureed, then into freezer bags for this winter’s Pumpkin Muffins. The pumpkin yielded enough puree to make nine batches of muffins. It cost $3. The pie pumpkins at the grocery store were more than twice the price. I might purchase a pie pumpkin next year, to see if we find any difference in the puree, probably not. Our neighbours use this food only as a disposable decoration, which I find sad.

Most of our squash is now harvested, although I can still see three Hubbard Squash, and one Butternut Squash, still in the garden, surrounds by frost killed vines and leaves. Processing pumpkin and squash is labour intensive, but the results are worth the effort.

DSCF1484 One of the smaller Hubbard Squash we grew in our garden this year. I baked it skin side up in the oven for about an hour, pureed flesh, then placed enough for a single Pumpkin Muffin recipe in freezer bags. There are three more larger Hubbard Squash to be processed, and two Butternut Squash as well. This project will take about a week to complete.

My day is flowing quietly along. The crochet project, the blanket/afghan, continues to get longer each day. It is lengthening just in time to keep my legs warm as I work, on these increasingly chilly days of autumn.

I work on my genealogy book from time to time, but truly have flagging interest in working on it in a sustained way. A few people are interested in it, waiting for its completion, but most people who would find it interesting are unwilling to pay enough to cover the costs of publication. I continue bit-by-bit, nevertheless.

As I type I watch the flies, dozens and dozens of them, crawling on the living room window panes, inside the storm windows. They are very dirty insects, their leavings on the glass are quite ugly. It is still warm enough that these flies are active. A few of them make their way into the house, where I diligently hunt them down and kill them. It seems to me that I will very much enjoy new windows in the living!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

13°C
Date: 11:05 AM EDT Thursday 2 November 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 12.9°C
Dew point: 11.3°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: S 35 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.”
Henry Kissinger
1923 –

Hallowe’en

I have begun the process of shutting down some of my web sites. One in particular has few visitors, and is difficult to maintain, security being the issue it is on the information highway. I deleted all files from the server this morning for that site. I have to say I will not miss the constant updating required to keep it secure! For now I will continue to maintain the other sites, as they receive a steady stream of traffic, and are quite useful to those who use them. The other sites are easier to maintain, they are newer and the security software is easier to update.

It is 6:30 a.mm. Through the window I can just begin to make out the silhouette of the ash tree. There are intermittent gusts of wind that set the branches swaying. I love watching the dawn gently nudge the day awake.

Yesterday, and the night before it, were rough ones. I don’t dwell on the sadnesses in my life, they are monoliths of pain, ancient and unmoving mountains, beyond my ability to scale. I do have to visit them though, from time to time. Yesterday, and the night before it, I was camped in the foothills.

I did find that, the night before last when I could not fall asleep, the Melatonin tablet that I placed under my tongue, after a few hours of tossing and turning, helped to take the edge off the pain, enough for me to finally fall into a deep and much needed sleep. As I began to doze off, I promised myself that I would address the issues in the morning, when I was refreshed. Sleep is so very important when one is dealing with sadnesses. I always eat well during these short periods of time. Keeping my physical condition at its best while dealing with difficult issues is crucial.

I kept my promise to myself, and spent yesterday exploring the sadnesses, spending some time with them, affirming that they are indeed very sad, and that there is nothing to be done. Attila and I had a chat last night about the issues, he knew something was amiss with me. He also knows the situations with which I deal, and knows the sadnesses are well founded, inevitable, and that the time I spend with them will be painful but brief. And that was the end to it, until the next time.

Last night I slept soundly, without needing assistance from Melatonin. This morning I awoke refreshed and ready for a new day.

Soon the window replacement will be completed. When it is, Attila will move on to the next project, the new kitchen floor. The materials have been purchased, commercial grade vinyl tiles, low VOC, very inexpensive, very plain.

I have been emptying the storage cabinet in the dining area of the kitchen, bit by bit. It is a big job, as there is really no other place to put the contents. All the drawers are now empty, and I am working on the shelves. I anticipate that by the time the bedroom window project is finished, the storage cabinet will be empty and ready to move. But where to move it! Every square inch in this little house is occupied. It will have to be kept in the middle of the living room I fear, for the duration of the floor installation.

Today is Hallowe’en. We expect a few Trick or Treater’s at the door tonight. We have a pumpkin, which Attila will carve when he gets home from work. We have candy, which we purchased a few weeks ago when it was on sale. The Jack O’ Lantern will be our only decoration. We are not enthusiastic decorators when it comes to “holidays”, except at Christmas, we like to have a Christmas tree, and coloured lights. But Hallowe’en, Valentine’s Day, Easter, we do not decorate. We don’t really notice these days really. But we do know that the kids like Hallowe’en, and Trick or Treating, so we turn on our porch light, light the candle in the Jack O’ Lantern, and distribute sweets to to the kids who come to our door.

“Peter Tokofsky, an assistant professor in the department of folklore and mythology in UCLA states, “The earliest trace (of Halloween) is the Celtic festival, Samhain, which was the Celtic New Year. It was the day of the dead, and they believed the souls of the deceased would be available” (Navarro).” Source: The Origins of Halloween

Hornet's nest For Hallowe’en… some real ghostly remains. This is a hornet’s nest that was built on a branch of the crabapple tree in our front yard. The branch was about three feet off the ground, so this was very low hanging, and might have been bumped into by anyone passing. Attila sprayed it in August, which effectively killed the hornets, and it has hung on the branch ever since, slowly disintegrating in the weather. The high winds we have been experiencing have taken matters into their own hands, to strip the nest of its wrappings, to exposed the combs beneath. The dead bodies of hornets can still be seen in some of the combs. Creepy, and beautiful at the same time. Unfortunately we cannot live comfortably side by side with hornets. Attila is allergic, and the stings are very painful.

I will be thinking of my ancestors tonight, and my loved ones who have passed. I can remember my Grandparents, my Great Aunts and my Great Uncles, and I know by first hand account of their families, who raised them, further back than that I cannot reach with my heart.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

9°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 31 October 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 9.4°C
Dew point: 0.4°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: WSW 32 gust 44 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“But psychoanalysis has taught that the dead—a dead parent, for example—can be more alive for us, more powerful, more scary, than the living. It is the question of ghosts.”
Jacques Derrida
1930 – 2004

Falling Off The Wagon

Last night I fell “off the wagon”. For many weeks I have been carefully restricting my salt and sugar intake. I have been diligent. But Halloween got the better of me. We bought candy for the Trick or Treaters, and had only 10 children show up at the door. Oh dear. All those little chocolate bars sitting there in a bowl. Oh dear. I tried, but in the end I realized that the demon had been let loose, I could make myself resist them, but then the craving would escalate, to the point that I might make an even worse choice today. So I gave in, and grabbed a handful of those little bite chocolate bars, and gobbled them up. Today I will have to resist the urge to eat sugar, because once I have some, I continue to want more. It will be work, but in a few days the cravings will disappear as if they never existed. Next year, I told Attila, I only want to buy a little bit of candy for the few children that come to the door, and I want it to be candy I don’t particularly care for. No temptation, and not too much leftover for Attila to eat himself.

My blood pressure improved on Friday, after trying the vinegar and honey routine that Bex suggested in the comments of the last entry. Initially it went down by 40 points, then came back up 20 points this morning. So I am still down 20 points from from last week. I hope my sweet Halloween indulgence doesn’t send it back up again! The evidence this morning is that I am holding steady at 20 points below last weeks levels.

We had a quiet weekend at home, Saturday was warm and wet, Sunday was cold and wet. Attila finished the French Drain, and landscaped the other side of the garden shed. When that was finished he took the door to the garage off its hinges, moved the snowblower out, and put the door back on. Then he moved the snowblower to the back yard and easily stored it in the garden shed. On Sunday we visited Home Hardware and purchased six patio stones which Attila used to create a walkway to the front step. It becomes very muddy over the winter in that area, so this will provide dry footing, and the level path will allow the snowblower to clear the snow easily on the level surface.

It is here that I would like to add my observations about the local wildlife. It is going wild. Our back yard is host to squirrels constantly digging holes in which to bury their treasure. Every time I look out the kitchen window, I watch a squirrel at work. There are birds everywhere. The Robins are loving the red berries on the trees in the front yard, there is constant movement just outside the living room window. It is mostly Robins, and small birds that may be Chickadees. Disturbingly, the Grackles continue to maintain social memory. The nest they build inside our roof is long gone, the hole has been covered by metal for more than one breeding season. They continue to land on the site of their former retreat and aggressively peck at the metal. Surprisingly, small woodpeckers have been landing on the painted siding and going to work; thus far there has been no discernable damage to the siding.

Attila has kept baited mouse traps in the garage for the last month. In the first few weeks he caught mice every night, eventually totalling ten mice. He is no longer capturing any mice, We hope it is bacause they have moved elsewhere, rather than caught on to our technique! So far we have seen no sign of them in the house.

I have been working on my genealogy book. The original family that came as pioneers had twelve children. I have written the section on the eldest child, a girl, who had one child. I am now working on the second oldest child, another girl. She had eleven children, so it is taking some time to add and reference the many photographs and documents. Referencing material is fiddly, with many steps involved, so that it is very time consuming. I am including references though, because they indicate the legitimacy of a piece of information, and it allows the reader to find and view the original documents if they so desire. I am surprised, over and over again, that there is ever more to discover. I often get sidetracked into pleasurable avenues of inquiry, into new details to be included in the book. Right now I am corresponding with a Great Grandchild of one of the eleven children. She has sent me pictures and information that cannot be found on the internet. She had been interacting with another family researcher who collects information from people and puts it into an Ancestry family tree, but he seldom, perhaps never, I don’t know I haven’t viewed all the material he has posted, references the source of the material. There is one particular piece of information that I know is fabricated, having diligently researched it myself, and interacted with the curator of the museum where the said information was to have resided, it isn’t there. I need to see the supporting documents before I include information in my database and in my books.

I am still converting home videos to digital format, which does not demand very much of my time, but it does demand my attention at specific points, so I have to keep an eye on it.

My Sister-The-Youngest-Girl had shocking news yesterday, the company she has worked for for a decade announced that the division she works in is being sold off. She has no details as to what will happen to her job, she is a Certified Accountant. She supports herself, so the loss of her job would be a total loss of family income. This closure will affect my niece and her fiancé as well, both Professional Engineers. It will be many months before they know how it will evolve. Things may yet turn out well, it is possible. I hope it isn’t too stressful, as Attila and I know all to well how stressful it is to have no working income and to be looking for a job in this economy. I hope she is spared that!

My entries are far from cohesive these days. This may be influenced to the shrinking and cracking of my immediate social environment, and it may be influenced by the chaotic storm of the larger picture, where integrity and decency are dissolving before our eyes, melting faster than the polar ice caps.

My Mom at 15. This portrait is cropped from a high school picture, which included all students in the school, and the teachers. This is the first face that I saw when I arrived on planet earth, lucky me. My Mom is a descendant of the pioneer families that took the first land grants in the District. There is an indomitable spirit that is passed on generation after generation from those who first hewed the forests.
Screen Shot 2016 10 29 at 9 02 40 PM

Worldly Distractions

Weather

8°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Tuesday 1 November 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.5°C
Dew point: 3.2°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: S 33 gust 44 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Charles Kingsley
1819 – 1875

I think the “we” is a top-down phenomena in North America (not having lived anywhere else I don’t want to venture an opinion beyond my experience). The media, entrepreneurs, politicians etc., assume in everything they present for public consumption, that these are the values that healthy humans aspire to. It is true that more and more people are adopting this top-down presentation of reality. But there are those of us who feel, “What do you mean “we” “white man”!?!”

I have never held social power beyond my immediate environment, nor have I desired it. My power is accountable to those around me, as is Attila’s.

In reality top-down entities only use the word “we” to gain what they desire. My “we” is a very different “we”.