High Wind

The wind is high today. I can feel a breeze coming in at one corner of the new widow in the back bedroom, which means the wind has given us a gift, the gift of knowledge. Attila will need to fix that opening to the great outdoors, not that we know it is there.

The clouds are moving quickly across the sky. I am watching them parade in and out of sight, as I gaze out the living room window. My perspective has changed. This morning I moved the furniture around, so that my chair no longer faces the front of the house, it now faces the side of the house. This gives me a view of the sky, and the branches of the neighbours ash tree, the one of the few trees that escaped their scourge. The sun no longer shines in my eyes all morning, which is an advantage. I miss seeing the pine bough’s graceful sway, in windy weather, but one cannot have everything.

Our neighbours, the young couple with two boys, are gone. Last April they told us they were spending the summer in a trailer park, and that they were renting the main floor of the house out temporarily while they were gone. The husbands brother was going to continue living in the house, in the basement. All through late September and October there was activity next door. First the tenant moved out. Then the brother in the basement began to move his belongings out, with his father’s help and his father’s vehicle. Then the house fell silent, and a few days later the property management notices went onto the widows, the house had been repossessed. Oh how I wish they had lost the house before they cut down so many of the beautiful trees on the property, probably for firewood. I really miss the flowering crab tree they destroyed, it provided shade, lovely spring aromas when the blossoms came out, bird song all summer long, and privacy. They stripped the property of its many of its charms. They missed the ash tree, probably because it is so large that taking it down would have been a very big job, requiring a permit.

Who knows what will happen next with the house next door. We are hoping that its luck changes. The couple who owned it when we moved in sold it as soon as we painted the exterior of our house. The couple who bought it lost it to the bank. The next couple who bought have now also lost it to the bank. Each successive owner has further diminshed the house, making unwise choices in landscaping, and interior renovations that were not completed. The house needs someone to love it.

On Saturday morning, when Attila and I were out picking up the materials needed for the window replacement, we stopped in at the drug store to pick up his prescription. The drug store offered flu shots. I took a chance and talked to the druggist, about my allergen. While we waited he made some calls and could tell me what non-medicinal ingredients were in the shot, so that we determined that I could have the shot. So Attila and I both had our annual flu shot. I am going to take all my prescriptions to this drug store in future, it is a Rexall Drug Store. Neither of us has had any reaction at all to the shots.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

10°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Monday 30 October 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 99.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 9.5°C
Dew point: 1.8°C
Humidity: 58%
Wind: WSW 35 gust 60 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously.”
Peter Ustinov
1921 – 2004

Day Four: High Winds

Wednesday, September 13, 207

Well! Another fine sunny day has dawned, if only we had chosen this week for our vacation! There is no cure for it though, vacation time must be booked well in advance, the weather cannot be predicted, so we take our chances.

Last night we cooked up a second batch of Tomato Pepper Sauce, and tonight we will do it all again. This batch yielded only 11 500 ml jars, with a little left over for dinner tonight. We will have almost three dozen jars of this sauce in our freezer. In an emergency, the sauce is in mason jars, can easily be fitted with proper lids, and could be canned to store dry on a shelf. It is unlikely this will be necessary, but nice to know it is an option. Canning can be done on a propane stove out of doors in a pinch.

All the scanning is done, so a new To Do list sits on the table with a pen, the paper is empty at the moment, but soon the scribbling will begin and I will be off and running.

A few years ago I was gifted some Genealogy reference books, which are not particularly useful to me, and take up a lot of room. Another family researcher would dearly love to have them, and for the last year we have tried to connect so that she can pick up the books. This weekend looks hopeful, she will be in the area for a family wedding, fingers crossed.

Purging here at Mist Cottage has slowed to almost a halt. The next renovation project is replacing the windows in the dining area, with smaller windows, higher in the wall, to facilitate raising the side of the garage roof. We hope that putting the new windows in this fall will mean we have a running start on the roof renovation next spring. Once the garage roof is replaced, Attila can organize his tools etc., and the basement where he now keeps it all be cleared out, and what remains can be organized. It is a real game of dominoes!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017, Day Four

The weather has been less that ideal, during these first four days of our vacation. The first day, Saturday last, was beautiful, warm and sunny and breezy. The temperature plummeted Saturday night, and Sunday morning saw steel grey skies and a relentless, steady rain. Yesterday began with overcast skies, which cleared near noon, giving way to wispy clouds racing across the pale blue firmament. The winds yesterday were significant, increasing in strength as a day passed.

The winds were so strong last night that we were wrenched from reading our books at about 9 a.m. last night, by a sudden loud noise and a jarring lurch of Grace The Trailer. It was as if we had been hit from behind by a car, but there was no car, not out here in the rain soaked, silent but for the rain, pitch black forest.

Attila donned his rubber boots and rain jacket, and headed out the door to see what was going on. It was the awning. The wind had lifted the canopy so violently that it dismantled the support rods, making a loud noise, and shaking Grace The Trailer. Attila reassembled the supports rods, then I donned my rain gear an joined him in the dark of the night. Together we worked by the light of a small battery operated lantern, to take down the canopy, fold the whole mechanism, and fasten it tightly against Grace The Trailer. I wore my wide brimmed hat, which kept the pelting rain from streaming down my glasses, obscuring my sight.

The storm raged on after we retreated into Grace The Trailer, where we were resumed our comfortable chairs and picked up our books once more. The tempestuous weather continued as we retired to our bed, and although Grace The Trailer shuddered from time to time in the strong gusts of wind, there were no further emergencies to be dealt with. We fell asleep to the sound of driving rain on the roof.

This morning the skies are cloudy, a bright, luminescent cloud cover that hints at sunshine. The strong wind and the rain have passed.

Attila and I enjoyed sitting outside with our mugs of coffee early this morning, watching the sky, listening to the occasional light breeze whisper with the leaves, and to the loons calling on the lake.

After breakfast we put the trailer awning back up, it is a two person operation. The awning is lovely to have, it provides shade when the sun is hot, and shelter from the rain, so that we can sit outside to watch the weather.

With all the rain we are having on this vacation visit the crushed stone is wet, therefore easier to shovel, which makes the job of moving the stone easier. Attila is moving about ten wheelbarrows full of stone each day, he is out there now, as I write this entry. I can hear the shovel crunch into the stone, the thud as it is jettisoned into the wheelbarrow, the trudging crunch of Attila’s boots as he pushed the wheelbarrow into the position, and the slide of rock on metal as the stone in dumped into place. The area in the clearing covered with crushed stone is slowly expanding.

I need to mention here that on Sunday evening another milestone was reached at the Rideau Camp. We had spent the day at a small local museum, where there were records of my ancestors, and had returned to the Camp to find Grace The Trailer feeling rather chilly and damp. The cold and the rain had their way with her. So Attila setup the generator, and we turned on the central heating system in the trailer. Oh my! Within ten minutes we were warm and toasty, and the damp had been driven off.

When Attila first started up the furnace, it ran for a few minutes and then suddenly stopped. He opened up the panel on the outside of the trailer, tinkered and got it going again. Then he showed me how he got it going, so that I would know how to do it too.

We noticed that the exhaust from the propane furnace smelled of mouse! There is a nest in there somewhere! There is no smell in the trailer, so the nest is in the exhaust system, but not blocking it, as the exhaust exits with great force. The smell may not be a result of a current mouse nest, in fact that seems unlikely. Mouse nests reek forever. The exhaust pipe is round and open to the outside, where mice would enter. It is the time of year when mice are looking for places to shelter for the winter, this exhaust pipe would seem ideal. When we leave at the end of our vacation, we will stuff steel wool into the exhaust pipe. Because this would pose a danger if the furnace were operated, we will replace the steel wool with a steel screen, which will allow the free movement of exhaust, and prevent furry house hunters from taking up residence.

In some ways, having lived at the country house has prepared us for having a luxury trailer in the bush. We are very aware of how vibrant the life is around Grace The Trailer, and that she presents as an opportunity for many species. It is truly an us versus them relationship, Attila and I insisting that Grace The Trailer is ours to inhabit, and that we will not share with the local inhabitants. She doesn’t take much space, they have many other options, which we insist are their only options.

OK, now I think we are over the line, and entering into the glamping world. Today Attila read the manual for the central vacuum in Grace The Trailer. We have never had a central vacuum before, it seems unbelievably decadent in a trailer. Our portable generator will run the vacuum system. The only thing it cannot handle is the air conditioning system, and we can buy a companion portable generator at some future date, to boost the power, and run the air conditioning if we think we need it.

If we ever get water running in the trailer, and a grey water drainage system hooked up, then we are into serious glamping! BUT we are committed to our humanure composting toilet system, we will not be using a water based sewage system. We are discussing removing the flush toilet from Grace The Trailer, to replace it with a compost toilet, the 5 gallon bucket kind of compost toilet, our favourite!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Cloudy this morning, bright clouds, but clouds nonetheless. Warmish, yesterday morning it was 60F when we got out of bed in the morning, This morning it was 67F.

14°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Wednesday 13 September 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 13.5°C
Dew point: 13.3°C
Humidity: 99%
Wind: N 5 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“There was a stigma attached to being brought up different, laid on us by “the straights” – normal people. I had a choice: accept my status and brazen it out, or retreat from those that might hurt me.”
Island of Dreams: A Personal History of a Remarkable Place, by Dan Boothby

Snowing and Blowing

This morning I awoke to Diesel curled up at my feet, snoring to beat the band, and the wind howling and battering the house. It was quite a combination! We have blizzard conditions here at the little house in the city, a rare event!

I jumped out of bed and headed for the thermostat, changing the temperature to 20C, up from the 16C overnight setting.

16C (60.8F) is great for sleeping. It allows me to cuddle under my quilt in cozy comfort. It is not a great temperature for being awake and moving around the house. At 16C my hands and feet get cold. I could solve the cold feet issue by purchasing a pair of winter boots to wear exclusively in the house. I have not found a solution for my hands though. I have several pairs of gloves with the fingers cut out of them, but my hands still get cold, and I have to take them off to do dishes, or any activity that involves handling wet objects.

20C (68F) is a very comfortable temperature for daytime activities in the house. It is very easy to maintain this temperature at the little house in the city. Tap, tap, tap on the thermostat display and voila, instant and consistent heat! The thermostat is a miracle device, in my humble opinion.

At the country house, at it’s best, the daytime temperature is 20C on the indoor thermometer. The indoor thermometer is located on the central support beam of the house, which is right beside the chimney section of the masonry heater. It is the warmest spot in the room, and in the house. The temperature falls as one moves towards the exterior walls, and it falls further if one moves near the exterior windows. The temperature falls a full 5C by the time one reaches the exterior wall. If you are near the wall the temperature is 15C (59F). It is much colder by the windows. I do not find 15C comfortable for daily activities.

Then there are the windy frigid days, and nighttime lows, at the country house. These can be downright challenging! The temperature by the masonry heater usually falls to 17C, which is not all that comfortable, and requires layers of clothing to keep warm. By the exterior walls the indoor temperature falls to 12C (53.6F), and lower than that by the windows. This is downright chilly for an old gal like me! I have survived these interior conditions for the last ten years, and it has become more difficult to stay comfortable with each passing year. This is one of the many reasons I am staying the winter at the little house in the city, and loving my thermostat!

Back to the blizzard. The wind has caused the snow to drift into deep piles in the driveway. I won’t be going out to “shovel out”, until this weather abates. I am not too concerned about waiting to dig my way out, because Tank has huge wheels, tough tires, and sits high above the ground; it is an “off road” vehicle. I haven’t tested it yet, but I am confident that Tank could drive through the worst that mother nature can throw at me here at the little house in the city. At the country house, well, no, other than a snowmobile, I don’t think there is a vehicle that could handle the worst that mother nature throws at us at the country house. Luckily the blizzard has not moved that far north, which is good news for Attila.

Attila continues to work all day, then come home to shovel snow, chop wood, and keep the hearth fires burning. Right now he has felled several dead or dying trees, that he marked last summer. He will section the felled trees into logs, then section the logs into short lengths, then split the short lengths, then stack the split wood for next winter. Attila likes this type of project, and spends all his free time at it.

Diesel reaching for some love and attention. He will launch himself onto my leg if I am standing, and if I am sitting he will launch his front paws on to my lap, then reach for my face. If I bend down he will pat my cheek with his paw, and if I bend down further he will head butt with me.
2015DieselFriendly

Here is a bit of whimsy, my living room on Mother Earth News: My Living Room.

I stumbled onto this web page today 67 Books Every Geek Should Read to Their Kids Before Age 10
BY ERIK WECKS
. It made me long for a child to read to! These books, most of which I’ve read, are delightful. It would be so wonderful to visit them with a child!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

BLOWING SNOW ADVISORY IN EFFECT
EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-18°C
Date: 6:39 AM EST Monday 2 February 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 1 km
Temperature: -18.1°C
Dewpoint: -21.1°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: NNE 40 gust 54 km/h
Wind Chill: -32

-18°C
Date: 6:19 AM EST Monday 2 February 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: -18.1°C
Dewpoint: -20.8°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: NNE 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -25

Quote

“There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”
Douglas Adams
1952 – 2001

Tuesday November 25 2014

Last night the wind increased to the point that it was throwing around the outdoor furniture out on the back porch. So I trudged out to the back porch, stacked the chairs, rolled the rug, and brought everything into the house, down the stairs, and into the basement. When things thrash around outside it tends to keep me awake.

FaceTime worked without issue this morning, so Attila and I enjoyed a long chat, before he rang off to get ready for his workday. That was at 6:30 a.m., it was still dark outside. I prepared my coffee, read a few things online, had a shower, and made myself some breakfast.

After reading Bex’s description for home baked fries, I decided to have a potato for breakfast. I pre-heated the oven to 350F, washed and peeled my potato, sliced it, spread the slices on a large plate, and microwaved it for four minutes. Then I brushed a baking pan with olive oil, sprinkled on salt and pepper, spread my potato slices, and baked it for 15 minutes. It was good!

Trying to coat the pan with olive oil this morning got me thinking about how much easier it would be to spray oil on the pan, than to try and spread it with waxed paper, or a brush. I began looking at oil misters on the internet. Well, it seems the domestic grade oil misters all have issues. I had one years ago and it did not work well; I though perhaps the technology had improved since then, apparently not.

Then on a forum for bakers I ran into this product, Electric Food Spray Gun LM25, which let me to the Kreb web site, where I discovered this product for oil spraying the Oil Spray LM2. I was enchanted! The enchantment ended when I scrolled down to the price tag! I have a weakness for appliances, which has been intensified by my anaphylaxis, and the need to prepare all food at home from scratch. The handy old oil brush is going to continue serving us well.

What I love about retirement is the freedom to think. If I am interested in cooking sprays, I can look into the subject, ask questions and find answers. What a pleasure that is!

Working numbed my mind; Attila finds the same thing. The clock was an overwhelming entity during the years that I studied, researched, and worked. As soon as I could manage it, I removed my watch and have not worn one since. Watches seem like handcuffs to me, I hate them.

For years I also juggled raising my two girls, with their respective and competing schedules for school and recreation and home. My day was prescribed for me, for all those years, almost every second of every waking hour was devoted to something or someone else, there was no “me time”. So many years of guilt over the simplest pleasure. Small things, like having a cup of coffee and looking out a window for 15 minutes of an afternoon, used to be guilt ridden, stolen moments. There always seemed to be someone who had a harsh word for me, if I dared to take any time for myself.

It has taken a long time to adjust to having “me time”. Overall, I would say it is going rather well! Attila not only encourages it, he actively facilitates it whenever he can. There are still those in my life who disapprove of “me time”, who question what I am doing with my time, frequently implying that I should be doing more, earning money, looking for work, accomplishing something tangible, feeling that I am not doing enough. I ignore them. I am glad I am not them. If they feel the need to be “productive” every minute of every day, then they can go right ahead, knock themselves out.

I like to smell the roses, sip my coffee, stare at the sky, listen to the wind blow, daydream, pet the cat, read a book, watch a video, learn new things at random…

I worked as a paid employee for over fifty years, and if I can manage to spend a little bit of my lifespan enjoying myself, well, I intend to do it. I am tipping my teacup to all those out there who enjoy the simple things, cheers!

Today was the big day, the new used vehicle was ready to be picked up. As anticipated, the dealership took care of all the little details for me, and the fellow sat with me in the vehicle to review all the features. Toyotas are all basically the same setup, a few small variations in where the dials are placed, but most previous knowledge about Toyotas is transferable to other Toyotas. So I was soon off, and driving down the road back to the little house. The dealership only put a half tank of gas in the vehicle, so I imagine it is going to be pretty pricey to fill the gas tank!

I think I need to name our vehicles, just so I can keep them straight in my own mind. The car will be Four Doors, and the new used vehicle will be Tank.

Tank is much larger than any other vehicle I have ever owned. It is a very, very solid machine. My biggest concern, first off, is backing it out of the driveway. The neighbour across the street parks his vehicle right across the street from the end of our driveway, narrowing maneuvering room considerably. I had no problem backing Four Door out of the driveway, but Tank is bigger, and I am unfamiliar with it. Attila says to back Tank into the driveway. I hate backing up because I wear bifocals, which bother me no end when I am trying to do things like back up vehicles.

I guess I should practice backing into the drive during the day, when no one is around. Or maybe I should just practice backing out of the driveway. I don’t know, if it weren’t for the neighbour’s vehicle at the end of the drive, there would be no issue.

The same neighbour approached us last Sunday, as we were carrying newly purchased supplies into the house. He wanted to tell us that he has been parking his vehicle in our driveway while we are away, because they already have four vehicles in their driveway. Attila told him that this would be fine, when we are not at the little house in the city. I noticed, when I got up this morning, that he was parked in our driveway. Now that Tank is sitting in the driveway, I hope he understands that he can’t park there anymore.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Tuesday 25 November 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 5.4°C
Dewpoint: 0.6°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: SW 42 gust 57 km/h

[Note: Today there are snow squall warnings at the country house, Attila may be shovelling again! No snow in sight at the little house in the city!]

Quote

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”
Lord Byron
1788 – 1824