Tea’s Ready

5:00 a.m., Saturday, April 4, 2015, Little House in the City

At 3:00 a.m. I was wide awake, and fighting dark thoughts. It happens. The dark thoughts are real, they are relevant, it isn’t worry, it is stark reality. At 3:00 a.m. the dark thoughts seem like the only reality. And that isn’t true. It isn’t true at all. So I spent the wee hours awake, giving the dark side of reality its due, working my way towards putting it all into perspective. By first light, the job was done.

It certainly helped to have Diesel cuddling up to me, as I pondered life, the universe, and everything! He is such an affectionate cat. He has taken to sleeping nose to nose with me. Most of the time I don’t mind this, but this morning he sneezed, and my face got splattered. That had me up in hurry, to wash my face! My first reaction though, was to laugh out loud. Cats do not like to be laughed at! Diesel soon recovered though, and we were best of friends again by the time my face dried.

It was snowing out this morning! It won’t stick around long. The sky was grey though, not very cheerful. On overcast days I like to turn on a few extra interior lights, to keep it cheerful. By 8:00 a.m. the sun was shining bright. How beautiful it is! The fresh fallen snow had melted away already.

I have been testing different nutritional analysis software, for my own use. I prefer not to use an online service, as the internet is not reliable, and there are times and places in my life that it isn’t available at all. I upgraded my recipe software to a version with USDA data, which will analyze my recipes, and also allow me to use my recipes as ingredients. This is handy for things like home canned beans, which I use as an ingredient.

We have eaten almost all of the beans I canned during the last pressure canning session, so next week I plan on putting in a few days canning beans. They are so nutritious, and relatively inexpensive.

I am very keen to setup a canning equipment storage area in the basement here at the little house in the city. The basement is unfinished, dusty, and has a lot of little critters in it, like spiders. I don’t mind these things, but the jars stored as they are now in open boxes, need a lot of preparation time devoted to cleaning. The new system I have in mind was one written about on a blog, she used clear plastic bins with lids, to store the empty canning jars, so that they were clean when she needed them and just needed to be rinsed before use.

What canning means at our house, is that the blue box is relatively empty. When we use a “can” of beans, or tomatoes, the container is recycled by us, we use the jars again and again and again. That means we have jars everywhere! That is why a good storage system is so interesting to me.

We have started to filter tap water for drinking purposes. This has a huge impact on the blue box as well. The blue box now only contains the occasional can from canned goods, soda water cans, plastics, and paper products. The blue box now takes about a month to fill.

The compost heap in the back yard has been great to have! I would like to build a box around it, as right now it is just a heap. The heap works well, very well, but a box surrounding the heap would be more visually appealing. We don’t have any issues with animals because we never ever put out meat or fat waste, that goes in the garbage. Right now I am generating about one grocery bag of garbage a month.

We are planning a garden again this spring, here at the little house in the city. Terra added our seed order to hers, to reduce shipping costs. Who knows how often we will be here at the little house to tend a garden during the summer!

Attila is expecting to arrive this evening. He will stay overnight, and head north to the country house tomorrow, and back to work on Monday. We are switching vehicles, I will need the little car to park for my appointment at the Orthopaedic Clinic this month. Tank is too tall for the parking garage! There is no other affordable parking near the hospital, and I won’t be walking long distances with my knee. So we will switch, and Tank will be heading north tomorrow with Attila.

The vehicle switch is just as well, as I will be doing most of the travelling between homes now that the weather is more predictable. There is a house to put on the market in the north, and a yard that requires a lot of maintenance in the spring in the south. It will be a busy spring and summer for me! It is a given that Attila will have a busy spring and summer, as he will continue to work six days a week, and will soon be adding many hours of overtime to that.

And now I think I will sit myself down at the kitchen table and have that cup of tea!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City
-1°C
Date: 7:12 AM EDT Saturday 4 April 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: -1.2°C
Dewpoint: -2.0°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: NW 20 km/h
Wind Chill: -7

Country House
-5°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Saturday 4 April 2015
Condition: Sunny
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -4.6°C
Dewpoint: -10.4°C
Humidity: 64%
Wind: NW 17 km/h
Wind Chill: -11

Quote

“It was his subconscious which told him this—that infuriating part of a person’s brain which never responds to interrogation, merely gives little meaningful nudges and then sits humming quietly to itself, saying nothing.”
Douglas Adams 1952-2001
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

“Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.”
Carl von Clausewitz
1780-1831

A Little Bit Sick

It has been years since I was under the weather with a cold! On Sunday evening, after dinner, I thought I might have tried to swallow something I shouldn’t have, my throat felt as if something were stuck there. There wasn’t. By Monday morning I had an irritating cough. Yesterday the cough persisted. Last night I had a raging headache. This morning I am a bit congested and the cough is still with me. No fever though, thank goodness.

Because I was coughing so much during the night, Diesel decided to try to get some shut eye on my easy chair.

Today is my Yoga class and I have decided not to attend. There are other women there who would find this bug more than annoying, were they to catch it. I’ll hold fast here at home, and wait out the symptoms.

This morning I prepared myself a lemon drink, water, lemon, and wee bit of sweetener. That calmed the cough for a while, but it came back. I will just have to keep drinking!

I will still be going out for my walk, bundled up to the eyeballs so as not to catch a chill.

Lately, I have been fiddling about with recipes, making up some of my own. I wanted to assess the nutritional value of them, and came upon this site, Calorie Count. There are many sites that will analyze a recipe for nutritional value, but this one seems to be unique. It allows you to type in all the ingredients in one go, or copy and past them in from another digitized recipe. The other sites I found allow you to input one ingredient at a time, then click enter, then start again on the next ingredient, which is very time consuming.

While I was at the site above, I kept a record of my daily food intake, and was pleased with the results, based on a Mediterranean Diet. The results pointed out weaknesses though, too many of my calories came from fat, and too many from saturated fat. This occurred because I ate an avocado which put me over my limit for fats, and later in the day a cheese sauce, the cheese put me well over the limit for saturated fats. I did pretty well with the calories, the fibre, the sodium and the cholesterol though. According to the calculations on this web site, with the calories I am consuming on a daily basis, I should be losing weight. Nope, not happening. That does not matter to me though, as my focus is knowing I have a good nutritional balance with my daily food intake.

The Orthopaedic Surgeon did advise me to loose weight, to aid the maintenance of my knee. It isn’t that simple though. I have no intention of starving to lose weight at my age. If consuming the caloric intake advised to lose weight doesn’t do it for me, then it is not going to happen. I am slightly overweight, according to the calculations on the site. The ideal weight for me, that they propose, was one that I could only maintain on a strict diet (less than 900 calories a day, when I was much younger), which I am unwilling to do. If I eat more than 900 calories a day, I am going to be heavier than my “ideal” weight. I doubt very much indeed that my actual ideal weight resembles the calculations currently in use for such purposes. I plan on continuing to eat a balanced diet, and to walk daily, and if my weight goes down, then that is just a pleasant side effect, it is not my real goal.

The real challenge for me, in eating a balanced diet, is access to fresh vegetables. $$$ Fresh vegetables cost a lot more money than carbohydrates, so that they sometimes cost more than the budget will allow. Usually I can find something fresh on sale. One week it was spinach, another week it was broccoli. As far as fruit is concerned, I don’t even try to purchase fresh fruit in the winter, except as a treat. I settle instead for raisins, dates, dried cranberries, and our own frozen rhubarb and strawberries. I have splurged on a little box of clementines this winter, another treat!

We have just come through another cold spell, not as frigid as our February cold snap, but still below normal for this time of year. The sun is shining though, which adds untold cheer to the day. Even with the cold temperatures of the last few days, the sun was strong enough to melt snow.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City
-10°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 25 March 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -9.6°C
Dewpoint: -11.1°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: NE 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -14

Country House
-7°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 25 March 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -6.8°C
Dewpoint: -9.9°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: ESE 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -12

Quote

“Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.”
Socrates
469 BC – 399 BC

[This seems the antithesis of the Machiavellian spirit.]