What I did on my summer vacation.

Our first summer vacation in over two decades came in the summer of 2016. We were very excited! My brother had a heart attack and died that week. In 2017 our second opportunity for a summer vacation came up, and we spent it at our Rideau Camp. That week a neighbour destroyed a corner of our property with his tractor, and a property dispute ensued, in which I ended up having to involve the police to prevent the individual from continuing to damage the property, it was not fun, and certainly not relaxing. In addition to that miserable process, it was cold and rained the whole time we were there,

So, this year, when an opportunity for a summer vacation came along, I decided to pass. God only knows what misery would befall me on a third attempt at leisure and pleasure.

Attila had last week off. The first Saturday began as hot and humid as it had been all summer, being outdoors was not bearable. It was the Labour Day long weekend in Ontario. I thought perhaps it might be fun to drive out to a few local farms, who advertised on the internet. I was looking for tomatoes, and although several farms indicated they sold tomatoes, none of them offered any information on availability. I called their telephone numbers, only one farm line answered. He was quite unpleasant, told me he wanted $75 a bushel for his tomatoes, that there were none left, and I could put in my order for next year with a deposit. I politely declined. So we chose the nearest farm in the listings (not the unpleasant fellow) and set out.

There was a bad accident on a nearby highway, and all of the long weekend traffic was rerouted through our small area. It took over an hour to get out of town and to the first farm. They had clearly gone out of the business of selling to the public, the stand partly demolished, nor was there any sign of farming activity. I wish they had taken their listings off the internet, but I know how time-consuming that can be, so I don’t really blame them for not seeing to it.

Conclusion: the internet is not a good way to find local goods and services.

It took another hour to get back through town, which took us by a grocery store, so we popped in for a few things. And there they were, Roma tomatoes by the 25 pound box, and Red Shepherd peppers by the 20 pound box! The tomatoes were $8 a box, and the peppers were $10 a box. They were grown in Ontario, but not anywhere near where we live. We bought two boxes of tomatoes and one box of peppers. The outing to visit local farms and purchase local produce was abandoned.

So, I began to can tomatoes. I pressure canned batches of Tomato Red Pepper Sauce and pureed tomatoes right through until Monday, and spent at least 12 hours each day on my feet, getting it done. Attila helped a bit, sitting and turning the food mill, which helped a lot.

On Tuesday the heat wave was still going strong, and being outdoors was still going to be unbearable. So I thought it would be interesting to try again to buy local produce. This time I decided that an apple farm where we had purchased apples in the past, would be the place to visit. Attila liked the idea, so off we went for a drive in the country. It was hot and humid out there, but we were comfortable in the air-conditioned vehicle, and the long drive in the country was fun and relaxing.

We bought a 1/2 bushel of Paulared Apples. I also treated myself to a new paring knife, a Victorinox serrated knife, that was for sale for $9 at the apple farm store. A little vacation indulgence. Attila chose a plastic jar opener, for opening hard-to-open jars, as his little indulgence. We took our apples and indulgences and set out on the back roads towards home.

It was on one of those back roads that we bumped into a farmer selling produce out of her barn. She didn’t have a lot, but we did get six quarts of lovely new potatoes, and a large ripe melon.

We had a good time.

On Wednesday the day was spent turning the apples into applesauce.

On Thursday the applesauce was preserved by pressure canning.

Thursday was the last day of miserable hot and humid weather.

Friday dawned sunny and cool. At last! I decided to go “hiking” at a local park trail. Attila though that was a grand idea, so that is what we did. We weren’t sure just how it would work out, me with my arthritic knee, and Attila with his bad back and painful ankle. We chose the easy trail, not too long, and spent a lot of time sitting at the water’s edge just enjoying the sound of the waves lapping, and the birds calling.

Saturday dawned sunny and cool. Yay! I decided to go “hiking” again. Based on our success on the last “hike”, we chose a slightly more challenging trail, a moderate rated trail, two kilometres long. What a glorious time we had, again, sitting for a long time at the water’s edge. This time, as we were sitting watching the water lap against the rocks and submerged trees trunks, a beautiful mink ran across the shore in front of us. We were downwind from the water, so that it probably did not realize we were there until it was well on its journey. When it became aware of us, it scooted across in front of us and off into the brush. At another point in our walk, we stopped to watch a group of women in a small motorboat, who were out fishing. They caught our attention with their cries of excitement and amazement as one of them caught a fish. They were enjoying themselves so much, it was contagious. My knee, and Attila’s back and ankle, survived the experience without distress, we were pain-free and tired when we arrived back at the car. Out came the lawn chairs from the trunk of the car, cool beverages were fetched from the cooler in the back seat, and we set ourselves up in the shade to enjoy the breeze and the trees, while we rested from our adventure.

Once rested we headed for the Rideau Camp. Once there I heated up a pot of chilli for our supper, while Attila started a camp fire, over which he cooked grilled cheese sandwiches. We enjoyed a quiet meal, then sat around the camp fire for a few hours until the light began to fail. The fire was doused and then we were on our way home. It was a another lovely day.

Mouse Tales

Mice invaded Grace the trailer over last winter and have been a nightmare this summer. Three weeks ago, while applying Mouse Free to the undercarriage of the trailer, with a paint brush, Attila discovered a gap tucked behind the siding at the front jack. That opening, and another we found in the rear, were then filled with steel wool, then painted with Mouse Free. This was all done in hope of preventing more mice from entering.

BUT there was a high possibility that there were remaining mice in the trailer. Snap traps were being turned over and raided without catching the mice. When a mouse was caught in a snap trap, it was a pretty gory affair to clean up. So I got a 5 gallon pail, filled it with about 10 inches of water, smeared a bit of peanut butter horizontally for a few inches, just above the water line, and placed a 1×2 board up to the lip of the rim as an entry ramp for the mice. We caught six mice. Yesterday, after leaving the trailer for a week, there were no mice in the trap. There were no new droppings anywhere in the trailer.

That brings us to today, the last day of the “vacation”. Today nothing is planned. Attila is doing a lot of little things he wants to get done before he goes back to work. I am puttering, my usual kind of puttering about, going from one little task to another, like a bee wandering from bloom to bloom.

This may or may not have solved our mouse issues. I live i hope.

Worldly

Weather

14°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Sunday 9 September 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 13.8°C
Dew point: 4.0°C
Humidity: 51%
Wind: NE 19 gust 33 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The more we do, the more we can do; the more busy we are the more leisure we have.”
William Hazlitt
1778 – 1830

What I Get Up To

purple ball in the back yard called wallyball

This is the purple ball that blew into our yard some time ago. It blows from place to place with the passing winds, and I enjoy watching what it is up to. Attila has named it Wallyball.

chimes hanging on the back porch

These are chimes I bought at the dollar store. They pass along whispered messages from the wind. I love them.

perper lunch bags containing seeds haning on the clothsline

These paper lunch bags contain seed heads from the Cosmos, the Giant Marigolds, and the Marigolds. The bags are labelled and hanging out to dry. This method of drying seeds seems to be working rather well!

Giant Marigolds, yellow, and Cosmos, White

These Giant Marigolds are so very beautiful! Behind them are Cosmos. I am really enjoying the flowers this year!

clump of wild flowers, small white flowers, left standing as the lawn was mowed around them

When Attila mowed the lawn this week, he left a bouquet of flowers just for me. This bouquet sits prominently in the middle of the back yard! It is the little things.

nasturiums

The Nasturtiums are doing very well, nestled up against the compost bin. I have been plucking the blooms, washing them, then popping them into my mouth. They taste sweet and peppery. I love them, the way they look, and the way they taste!

Canning assembly line.

The tomato canning assembly line. Top to bottom, the tomatoes were washed in a sink in cold water, then set in the next sink to drain, then cut into pieces on the cutting board, then placed in a large pot (in which they were boiled until soft), then ladled into a food mill which was placed on the 16 quart stock pot.  The tomato skins that were removed from the food mill were placed in the white bowl.

tomato puree

Cooking the tomato puree, in the 16 quart pot. The smaller pot was used for boiling water to sterilize the jars, rings, lids, and attachments for canning.

tomato skins spread out in pan and cleaned egg-shell on small plate

The tomato skins, having been dried in a warm oven, in a pan lined with a silicon sheet, and an egg-shell, drying on a plate. The tomato skins were separated from the pulp using the food mill, then spread in the pan and dried at 200F in the oven, off and on, over the course of a few days. All egg shells are cleaned and dried, then crushed to use as a soil amendment.

jars of tomatoes on kitchen counter

The results of the canning marathon! 12 one litre jars of Tomato Puree. And there is my All American Pressure Canner, resting after all its hard work, and behind it the Instant pot, waiting patiently to prepare our dinner.

Attila’s ankle is getting better, bit by bit, day by day. He will begin physiotherapy soon, and hopefully that will help alleviate the pain. He has two issues, one an injury to his back, and the other an old injury that has been flaring up in his ankle. He seems to be able to control the pain using Voltaran (Diclofenac) rubbed on his ankle, this allows him to sleep at night. I think that applying this locally is much better for him than taking Ibuprofen tablets, as those could affect his stomach.

Yesterday was very hot and muggy, and it did not cool down much during the night. It was, and still is, very windy. The wind toppled the Giant Marigold plants, and one of the Cosmos plants. They were then staked, and fingers are crossed that the plants will suffer no ill effects.

The garden continues to yield a small but steady harvest of tiny tomatoes. They are washed and frozen after they are harvested, to be processed all at once when the harvest season is over, and any green tomatoes have ripened. A total harvest of about two six-quart baskets is anticipated. The tomatoes from our garden will be organic tomatoes, heritage varieties, no GMO.

Last night we ate a quick supper of leftover Lebanese Instant Pot Beef and Green Beans over rice, then loaded the car and headed out to Grace the trailer. On the last visit Attila applied Mouse Free compound to the undercarriage of the trailer, and I set out numerous cotton balls infused with Peppermint Essential Oil. Two bucket type mouse traps were set and left to catch any remaining mice in Grace.

I looked for an image of the setup for the mouse trap, and found only one image, which included the deceased mice, which I didn’t need to see, and probably you don’t either. All of the other bucket mouse traps were more elaborate than ours, involving beer or pop cans. They may be more efficient, I don’t know. I am very happy with the efficacy of the trap we set. The first time we set it we caught two mature mice, while the traditional snap traps were all empty.

To create the Mouse Trap that works for us:

Materials
5 gallon bucket
two tablespoons peanut butter
table knife
water
piece of wood for a ramp

Instructions
Using the table knife, smear peanut butter horzontally to the inside of the bucket about six inches down from the rim.  A one inch by three inch smear works nicely. Pour water into the bucket to a level about in inch below the peanut butter.  Place the wood as a ramp up to the rim of the bucket, resting  just above the smeared peanut butter.  I make sure the ramp rests just on the rim, firmly.  Check occasionally for dead mice.

When I opened the door to Grace last night, I knew from the smell that we had caught mice. They must have passed away the first night we were gone, more than a week ago. In this heat, well, it wasn’t pleasant. Four mice were caught in the living room. There were no mice caught in the boot or in the bathroom traps. Although less humane, the bucket allows for much easier clean up. We burn or bury the mice we catch in the trailer, because we have warfarin laid out. It is undesirable that animals further up the food chain eat any of the mice caught in the trailer. The trap was washed with bleach, sun-dried, reloaded and set back in place, in case there are any more mice in the trailer.

When Attila applied the Mouse Free he found two hidden entry points that hadn’t been located or blocked previously. Those entry points were plugged, so that in theory any mice in the trailer from that time forth would be trapped there. The Mouse Free, in theory again, will repel further attempts by mice to enter the trailer. We are hoping that the recently trapped four mice were the last mice in the trailer.

We sat under the trees at the Camp until dark, letting the trailer air out. It was hot, humid, and windy. A flock of geese flew overhead, in V formation, heading away from the lake, probably to a nearby wetland to shelter for the night, or perhaps they would press on. It is getting to be that time of year, when the geese begin thinking of migration. Oh how I love the quiet of the bush.

Worldly

Weather

26°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 29 August 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.2°C
Dew point: 23.9°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: S 25 km/h
Humidex: 37
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all. In which case, you’ve failed by default.”
J. K. Rowling

On Hold

July is less frantic than June, but still very busy.

The garage roof project was put on hold for a few days.

Last weekend we spent our first night at the Rideau Camp in 2018. The mice had been in again, but none were trapped. The cleanup of their droppings took about four hours. I hate mice, no matter how cute they might be, I despise them. Steel wool was stuffed into additional openings, and Attila is researching removing the undercarriage and sealing it with insulation and hardware cloth.

The army worms are no longer on the trunks of trees. The ones we did not manage to destroy have eaten a lot of leaves, but they have not stripped the trees, so there is still a beautiful canopy. Two elm trees died since our last visit, which is sad, but we knew that our elm trees would not live long lives. I have been carefully protecting the maples, birch, oak, and pine trees surrounding the camp, knowing that eventually they would be all that was left as the elms and ashes were destroyed by insects and disease.

The visit to the Camp was a fun one once the unwanted tasks were completed, blue skies, trees, quiet, bird song, and a starry heaven at the end of the day. It was lovely.

Everything was so very dry! Our little swamp was completely dry, giving Attila the opportunity to pull out dead branches and a stump. It was so dry that we decided not to have a camp fire, there was a bit of wind, and it didn’t seem worth the risk. Because it is dry we had only a half a barrel of water in our rain barrel, which we use to douse our camp fire. It was enough to douse a camp fire, but it would not have been enough to deal with a spark catching a dry patch of dead grass, or something similar. We enjoyed sitting under the stars instead, so bright, so reliable, so unconcerned with us, and yet part of us, as we are part of the universe.

Monday was a very exciting day. An early morning call from Lares, they were on their way to the hospital. That evening little Willow was born, 9 pounds, 12 hours of labour. Tuesday evening Terra arrived home with Willow. We visited, and once Willow was in my arms I could not give her up until she demanded to be fed, so back to Mama. I experience falling in love in an instant, I am aware of it happening, such a wonderful, wonderful feeling. Those roving newborn eyes, suddenly fixing on my face, gazing at me with such curiosity, concentration, acceptance, love at first sight. This happened with my children when they were put in my arms after their births, and with every single one of my Grandbabies.

Today is sunny and mild and just about perfect. Early this morning the Installer arrived to replace the broken window pane on our new living room window. The window pane arrived cracked, when it was installed in March, and it has taken this long for the window manufacturer to supply the company, that did the window installation, with the replacement. It took only 30 minutes for the fellow to replace the pane, and he parged one of the basement windows, where I didn’t know it needed it! He will come back to caulk the window when the parge has cured.

I was just watching a video made by a family who rely exclusively on a solar system for their electricity. She said that when they had hydro service, they used 60 kWh per day. I looked up our peak usage, 36.5 kWh per day, used during a month when the temperature was on average -1C, and the ground source heat pump would have provided most of our heat.

The video creator also mentioned that relying on a solar system for their electricity, they use between 4 and 10 kWh per day, running only a refrigerator 24 hours a day. Our lowest usage was 22.3 kWh per day, during a month that required some use of the heat pump for heat, and a few days where only the very basic electrical appliances were operated.

We are in between the two extremes she describes, 4 kWh and 60 kWh. Our usage varies between the monthly average of 22.3 kWh per day and 36.5 kWh per day, which includes our heat source in the winter. I think that here at Mist Cottage the strategies to curtail the use of electricity have been relatively successful.

We could lower our usage by insulating the basement, upgrading the scanty insulation in the walls of the house, replacing the drafty entrance doors, and upgrading to energy efficient appliances. The chest freezer comes to mind. I purchased it from a family moving to another area, for $100. It was very beat up, the lid caved in a bit, and it is far from being energy efficient. But I could afford it at the time, and it works well, although expensively. The energy efficient freezer that I had at the Country House, was much larger, but it stayed with the Country House, a condition of sale. I miss that freezer!

Since I have applied for a grant program that might help us make some of the upgrades to reduce electricity consumption, I am afraid that the measures already taken here are so successful that that it might be deemed that we don’t need the available upgrades. I certainly hope that is not the case… We do need the upgrades, because at some point in the nearing future Attila will retire without a pension, and survival is going to get a lot more challenging than it is now. Also, I would dearly love to use a little more electricity to cook dinner at dinner time, instead of trying to plan meals around hydro prices, and laundry, and vacuuming, and… well the list goes on of what I cannot do at certain times of day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 11 July 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.3°C
Dew point: 9.8°C
Humidity: 44%
Wind: ENE 14 km/h
Humidex: 23
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It’s like your batteries get low, and you need to charge them on someone else’s story.”
Margaret Cho

I’m feeling this one right now!

Stifling

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Hot!

This morning I slept in. It was just after 6:00 a.m. when I opened my eyes. Morning routines, rise, dress, make the bed, put the kettle on, make coffee, then sit and gaze out the window at the trees. While sipping coffee, the thought that a trip to the Rideau Camp was needed, and could be accomplished, there and back, in the early morning, before the heat of the day turned the world into an oven.

Attila was fast asleep at 7:40 a.m., but I decided to rouse him earlier than his usual 8:00 a.m., to ask him if he wanted to go to the Camp this morning. He did!

We left Mist Cottage just after 8:30 a.m., and arrived at the Camp an hour or so later. The journey was lovely, green fields, blue skies, light traffic.

We were there until noon, when it was beginning to get really hot.

The last time we visited the Rideau Camp, four mouse traps were set in the trailer, and two dishes of warfarin as well. Today there three of the mouse traps held dead mice, and one of the dishes of warfarin was empty, the others were untouched. Attila brought the mouse traps with the mice out to the camp fire pit, placing them on a rock, so that I could deal with them.

The weeds had grown high since the last visit, so Attila spent his time at the camp cutting weeds with the weed whacker.

I was busy also, I watered the garlic and the four Blue Hubbard Squash plants, and picked the garlic scapes.

Then I brought kindling, a sheet of newspaper, a lighter, and some firewood to the fire pit, to build a camp fire. It was really too hot for a camp fire, but it was a necessity. The mice had consumed some warfarin, so I wanted to ensure that they did not become food for another animal. The dead mice were cremated in the camp fire. The mouse traps were doused in water, then cleaned by brushing them with weeds, that had been plucked out of the crushed stone. The traps were baited once more with peanut butter and placed back into Grace the Trailer.

There were some gruesome bits to be cleaned after the traps were taken out. After spraying the areas in question with hydrogen peroxide, and pulling on some latex gloves, I set to work cleaning, using paper towels which I could then burn in the camp fire.

Grace smelled bad. Dead and decomposing mice do not smell pleasant. Windows were opened, roof vents opened as well, to give Grace a good airing out. If more mice are caught, the next visit will involve more cremations, cleaning, and airing out of the trailer.

I really hope that we discover where the mice are coming into the trailer!!

I enjoyed watering the garlic and the four Blue Hubbard Squash plants, there is something very satisfying about watering plants. The garlic scapes were ready for harvesting, they are such a wonderful ingredient in the Instant Pot meals I’ve been making recently.

By noon we were both soaking wet, from working in the heat and humidity, so we packed everything up and retreated to the car, to make the trip home in a much appreciated air conditioned vehicle.

After unpacking the car, Attila was back on the job. The new wall studs on the front wall were constructed, and siding installed. He even managed to paint the the new siding. It looks as if it has always been as it is now.

It is so hot outside that when Attila came in at one point, his clothes were completely, down to the last fibre, soaked in sweat. After changing, back out he went. His plan to finish the wall above the garage doors today was accomplished.

Iris has been sitting on the front lawn since June 15, 2018. Now that the front of the garage roof project is completed, she will be moved back into her rightful place in the driveway.

Attila has now reached the stage in the project, where he feels peace of mind, confident that the remaining touches will proceed smoothly. There will still be much to do, but the big push is over.

While removing the old roof the week before last, carpenter ant nests were found in the wet rotted wood. They were destroyed. When the rotting sill plate above the front garage doors was removed this afternoon, another nest of carpenter ants was found. They were destroyed. The theory is, and I like this theory, that now that the wood will remain dry and sound, there will be no more carpenter ants.

My eyes are bothering me tonight. It started when we were at the camp, I think perhaps the UV index has something to do with my discomfort. My eyes are teary, and my vision is blurry. There are no other symptoms. I will be sure to wear sunglasses out of doors from now on.

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends. I heard fireworks in the distance last night, but could see no signs of them through any of the windows. The celebration here at Mist Cottage consisted of Nachos with salsa and sour cream, perfect for us after a hot day in the bush, and Attila working on the roofing project.

Sunday, July 2, 2018

Yesterday Attila finished installing the siding on the front of the garage, and painted it too. Just the trim to be added, and the presentation is complete. Although the front is not really complete, it does look as if it is from the outside, which is what the neighbours care about, so Attila is feeling a lot more relaxed about the project now. Having it look finished from the outside was his turning point. Having the metal on the roof so that it would shed water was my turning point. Both have been accomplished.

I was going to vacuum in the garage early this morning, but I got sidetracked. Last evening Attila picked an armful of rhubarb from the garden, which I covered and put into the refrigerator for the night. This morning, when I opened the refrigerator door to get the milk for my coffee, there it was, waiting for me. I began the process of baking a rhubarb crisp, and preparing the left over rhubarb for the freezer. The rhubarb crisp was baked in the Nesco on the back porch. There was enough cubed rhubarb left over for two more rhubarb crisps, so I bagged, labelled, and stowed it in the freezer.

While I was busy with the rhubarb, I noticed that there was only one baked potato left in the refrigerator. Attila snacks on baked potatoes, if they are there, so it was time to bake more, in the Instant Pot of course!

The hydro is roughly half price today, because it is a statutory holiday. It is the perfect time to bake a loaf of bread. I baked the the loaf in the kitchen, even though the heat from the bread machine would mean that the air conditioning would have to work harder. Attila needed the electrical outlet on the back porch, for his equipment to work on the garage roof project, and bread takes about three hours, much too long for him to lose access to electricity for his tools.

It is another stinker of a day out there today. The second day in a row that the government is posting very inaccurate information about the temperature. The government weather web site says it is 26C with a humidex of 36C. That is false. Our thermometer, in the shade, reads 31C, who knows what the humidex is; it is high. Attila knows, he is out there working in this heat, and he says today is hotter and more humid than yesterday.

The rabbits are breaking my heart! There are only four pea plants left, of more than a dozen. Now they are killing the Scarlet Runner beans too. They reach through the fence and pull the stems over, near ground level, and bite through the stems to kill the plants. They don’t eat the plants, they just kill them and leave them. There are three of these rabbits, and they are bold as brass. My water canon ultimately has little effect. They run when the realize I am around, but they come back and decimate our food crop when I am busy elsewhere.

After reading a lot of different suggestions on how to control them, I decided that a chicken wire fence, attached at the top to our yard fence, and held down with garden stakes, would be the best option. I even sourced the materials, and drove to Canadian Tire to purchase what was needed, but everything is closed today. Tomorrow I plan on finding the chicken wire and garden stakes, and installing them! I sure hope there are a few plants left to save by then.

Wildlife is cute, but losing our high quality food is not cute. We need a fence around the garden area of our yard, which would protect the climbing food plants on the existing fence, because it would enclose that stretch of fence.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Sunday, July 1, 2018
The weather people say it is 26C at 3:40 p.m., with a humidex of 34C. Where are they taking these measurements!!!
WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!!!!
It is 34 in the shade here at Mist Cottage, our thermometer has been accurate for years, I trust it, and the humidex must be very much higher than that, 40C at least. I wonder why the temperature posted by Environment Canada is so very different than the temperature on local thermometers! Is their reading under estimated, read on the lakeshore, under reported… it isn’t accurate whatever their problem is.

Quote

“Spare no expense to save money on this one.”
Samuel Goldwyn
1882 – 1974

A Couple of Days

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Well, here it is, the garage roof replacement project has begun. I’ve waited for this one, to be over of course, it has been a long, long time coming. The garage roof leaked when we bought Mist Cottage in 2010, and the situation has worsened year by year, the smell of the mildew, the wet, the mice… well, all that is about to change at last.

And am I happy? Yes and no. I am so very glad the project is underway. At the same time I am feeling sad at the interruption in the flow of my daily life. That is probably because it is not my project, it is Attila’s. My role is administrative, making sure all the bills are paid so that the materials show up when needed, making sure that lots of good food waits in the ready, making a concerted effort to become invisible, to try not to get drawn into the project, just to listen when Attila goes through the frustrating bits, which I always hear about. It will eventually be behind us, and life will once again settle into some kind of rhythm. It isn’t going to be fun, I know that much.

My projects were finding the funds for grants, applying for and fulfilling all the administrative obligations for grants, orchestrating the hiring of contractors for the insulation for the attic, and the new windows, making payments, and watching the budget while waiting for the grant portions to arrive. These were big projects, which were very intrusive to daily life. The difference though is that none of the physical work was undertaken by Attila or myself. The projects went more quickly and efficiently because experienced people performed the installations. The insulation project has been completed, which includes receiving the grant funding. The new window project is incomplete, it is still pending the receipt of the grant, which is substantial, so that the worry over what would happen if the cheque never arrived is always lurking at the back of my consciousness. Also, one of the panes of glass was broken when they installed the living room windows, and the replacement glass has been on backorder for what seems like forever. I keep calling them, getting a date when the windows will come in, and then not hearing from them at all. Then I call again and we go through the whole rigamarole again, three times so far. I anticipate that it will turn out well, in time.

I am undertaking a new project, there is funding available for low income people (us!) to assist with making our home more energy efficient. I am expecting a call from an energy auditor, who will visit and assess the house, and draw up a plan if there is any funding available for what this particular house needs. I don’t really expect much with this, it is a lot of time and effort to make all these arrangements, but even if Mist Cottage benefits a wee bit from it, it will have been worthwhile. Actually, since we have a new right wing government in Ontario, I anticipate that the program will get the axe before we see any benefit from it, helping low income people won’t be high on the list of priorities, not unless it provides big PR opportunities, which this program will not. I hope I am wrong, but I am not optimistic.

Meanwhile, Attila has ordered, and received, the dumpster. The metal roofing has been ordered and he awaits delivery soon. The lumber has been ordered and will be delivered soon. The dumpster is huge, much bigger than I anticipated, and it takes up half the driveway. Where all the building materials will go when they are delivered is up in the air, I haven’t asked about it, better not to! Attila better be here when they are delivered! Iris and Tank are happily ensconced on the front lawn, where they can stay indefinitely. It is game on around here.

Another little bit of misery came home with Attila yesterday. The company he works for has decided they need him to work two Saturdays a month, overtime, from now on. I hate six day work weeks, and Attila will too. I am feeling a bit cranky about it right now, but not as cranky as Attila will feel after a few months of it.

Oh well, onward into the day!

The Instantpot beckons. I’d like to try a recipe using rice and vegetables, consisting of mostly vegetables. I am looking at the recipe for Rice Pudding and thinking, why not a savoury rice pudding.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

My experiment with savoury rice pudding in the Instantpot was not a total success. Rice pudding is meant to be creamier than rice in savoury dishes, so the texture was too mushy. The taste was fine, but it needs work. It is hard work trying to season a dish with no salt, or salty condiments. I tried using a garlic seasoning, called Garlic Plus, some dehydrated onion, and garlic granules. I made the dish using water. Things I am going to try in future are using saved water from boiled vegetables, caramelizing chopped onion at the beginning of the process, and researching how to cook savoury rice in the Instantpot. In the meantime, I will be eating my mistakes for days to come.

After some thought, I decided that a weeknight trip to the Rideau Camp was in order. So, when Attila arrived home from work yesterday, off we went. This trip was to set mousetraps in Grace the Trailer, and to put down some mouse poison in the trailer. Putting mouse poison underneath and around the trailer was considered, but I decided I wanted to try using it exclusively inside the trailer for now. Chances are the poisoned mice won’t make it out of the trailer alive, and will not be consumed by other animals. Also, other animals might get into the poison if it was outside, which is undesirable. There is a fox that hunts the Camp area, there is usually fresh scat somewhere on the crushed stone when we arrive for a visit. The fox could do a better job eating all those mice, but I shudder to think how many there would be if the fox were to hunt elsewhere.

This visit also included killing army worms, there were still thousands of them there. Attila sprayed, while I used a long stick to kill the outliers and escapees. I also destroyed the beginnings of another mouse nest in the ceiling of Winnie the outhouse. This one was a lot less substantial than the last, so hopefully the critter will find somewhere else to build a house.

The garlic planted at the Camp is doing very well, thriving. The Blue Hubbard Squash that was planted there is up, but it isn’t growing very fast. Perhaps it needs to be watered regularly, which won’t happen this season, too much going on at Mist Cottage with the new garage roof project.

We worked steadily until 9:30 p.m., at which time I could barely stand. I was exhausted. My energy levels are still being drained by this cold, which is hanging on. We arrived home before 11:00 p.m., I went straight to bed, and slept soundly until 5:30 a.m. I feel fine this morning, except for the cold, which is not lodged in my throat and tickles my chest into a cough when I breath.

I am taking it easy today. A load of laundry is hanging on the line, underneath the porch roof. Having a dry outdoor space to hang laundry to dry is a really nice feature of a roofed porch. It rained last night, and it looks like it will rain again today, perhaps even produce a severe thunder storm. My laundry will continue to dry on the line, regardless of the rain. The floors needed to be vacuumed, which was easily accomplished. Unless bills arrive in the mail today, or the much anticipated cheque for the windows, I will be taking it easy, working on my crocheted blanket, reading, watching a few youtube videos. The time flies, I am having fun.

The Peonies are in full bloom. What a beautiful scent they have! My Granny grew Peonies in her flower garden, they are harbingers of memory. Yesterday three vases were made ready, and graced with cut Peonies. One vase sits near my easy chair in the living room, beautiful to see and sniff. Another vase sits on my desk, in my room. The third vase is on the kitchen table.

Tonight’s dinner will be leftovers. Attila will eat Nachos with homemade Guacamole, and I will have the last bowl of baked beans, with a slice of homemade bread. For dessert there will be grapes. The refrigerator will be almost empty of leftovers by tonight, so tomorrow will be a cooking day, on the back porch of course.

Well, it is almost noon, and I have bee…

Thanks Kate. I got up to investigate a noise, forgot I was still writing and posted the entry. I hope it is the cold making me so absent minded!

It is past noon now, and I have been finishing up on what I’ve walked away from and left unfinished!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Tuesday 12 June 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.3°C
Dew point: 12.7°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: S 21 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH
18°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 13 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.9°C
Dew point: 15.5°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: S 14 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1749 – 1832