Out For A Drive

This morning the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. Optimistic that the day would offer more sunshine, Attila and I packed a snack, donned warm clothing for the outdoors, and headed down the road in Tank to visit the Rideau Camp.

The roads were bare and dry through the whole route, and there was very little snow even when we got to the Camp. Tank easily drove over the small snow bank across the end of the driveway, but we only drove part way in, as the snow was deeper in the bush and we did not want to get stuck.

Someone had been on the property on an ATV. They drove from the road right into the camping area, where they turned the vehicle around and left without getting off. There were dog tracks beside the wheel tracks, a dog had been running alongside the vehicle. Hopefully it was just one of the neighbours snooping around to see what we had been doing. I estimate from the freshness of the tracks that they had come in yesterday.

Attila and I spent about a half an hour walking about and enjoying the scenery. The day was above freezing, very damp, and very windy. We soon felt chilled and returned to the vehicle, where we ate a few breakfast buns, Attila with his coffee, and me with my water. It was good to be there again, and to see what it looks like in winter. It is a place I love to visit, but I would not want to live there. Thank goodness this is way things are arranged.

Firepit january 2017 Fire pit in January. How pink the granite rocks appear encircled and encircling white.

Tank was still carrying the microwave oven that had broken down, and the old VCR that had broken down as well. We decided to take a small side trip into the city on our way home, stopping by the Habitat store to drop the items off at their eWaste facility.

Then we took a scenic route home, along the shores of Lake Ontario. The water looked cold, and very uninviting.

It was a nice outing, with the added bonus of unloading broken electronic devices for recycling.

By the time we arrived home the wind was picking up again, and it felt lovely to return to a warm, cozy house. And then, after we had settled into cooking our dinner, the sun came out and the sky turned blue. Better late than never I suppose.

I am happy to make note that my blood pressure readings remain in the normal range. I am taking my original low dosage of my high blood pressure medication. I continue to eat a very low-sodium, low-sugar diet, and have lost a wee bit of weight in doing so, because there is never any temptation to eat beyond satisfying hunger, food just doesn’t taste that great without the “baddies” (salt and/or sugar) when you aren’t hungry.

When my blood pressure was very high the doctor quadrupled my medication, then another doctor prescribed a SECOND medication to take in addition to the quadrupled medication. I balked. Instead of taking more medication, I started to reduce the the quadrupled medication back to the original small dose. I never did take the second medication. The combination of medication, apple cider vinegar and honey, and low-sodium and low-sugar diet, have worked their magic. It took MONTHS for this to right itself, as I began this process back in early September. Health issues are not always so easily resolved, so I am grateful that my efforts produced the desired result.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

4°C
Date: 4:00 PM EST Sunday 22 January 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.5°C
Dew point: -0.9°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: NE 23 gust 42 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy.”
Bob Hope
1903 – 2003

First Snow

I follow a few online groups that allow members to offer free items, and to request free items. To date I have not needed any of the items on offer, but you never know. Why do I continue to follow these groups if I have nothing to offer, and need nothing? Well, for one thing, they amuse me. People mostly offer free items like egg cartons, broken bathroom scales, or a half a bag of sand. People mostly request things like beds, exercise bikes, washing machines, computers, or cell phones. I find it hilarious that the items people are giving away are so very divergent from what people seem to want free of charge. And of course, I just might find a recycled gem in there, something we could truly use, and used will do.

I am sitting in my new comfortable rocking chair gazing out of the living room window. there is a stiff breeze, and it is snowing. It is a light snow, which will probably melt on contact. Our first snow of the season. I really must press Attila to get Iris the trailer positioned so that snow can be easily removed around her, and to move the snow blower into the new garden shed. Moving the snow blower involves removing the garage door to get it out, so it is a project that will take a whole evening, or half a day. Better to get it done now than wait until we are desperate to use it!

I continue to drastically cut my sodium intake, it has been almost a week and there has been no affect on my blood pressure at all, it is still just as high as it was when I first became concerned about it. I have also begun 20 minutes of vigorous house cleaning every day, a period where I don’t stop moving, and am up and down stairs quite a bit. I used to these tasks intermittently, now I am doing everything in a cluster of activity. This has no perceivable effect on my blood pressure levels. Splitting the high cholesterol pills and taking the half dose daily has similarly no perceivable affect on my high blood pressure. The quadrupled dosage of blood pressure lowering medication has had no perceivable affect on my blood pressure levels. I can feel whatever the problem is as a pressure in my head. I will be taking myself back to the walk-in clinic very soon.

I remember when my Grandmother began having strokes, before there were effective medications to control high blood pressure. She was advised to make what the “experts” now call “lifestyle changes”, like walking every day. She did all of this, but she continued to suffer from small strokes, and eventually had a massive stroke that took her life. This condition is hereditary, it is serious, and I will resist being sent home by medical people to alter my lifestyle, when my lifestyle has been, and is, relatively healthy to begin with. My Granny led a wonderfully healthy lifestyle, she just pulled a short straw in the genetic draw, and it looks like I might have as well.

Other than the snow, it has been an entirely unremarkable day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

3°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Thursday 27 October 2016
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.1°C
Dew point: 2.4°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: ENE 14 km/h
Visibility: 6 km

Quote

“Follow the grain in your own wood.”
Howard Thurman

Celebration of Gifts

Poplar Two. I’ve been playing around with my camera, enjoying patterns and perceptions. Life is all about relativity! This image is part of my Altered States Gallery, which has just been updated.
005 poplar

I don’t think frugal quite covers what Attila and I do with our scant resources. It is not desperation. It is not dire need. It is more like a celebration of gifts. Our take on waste not, want not, seems extreme to some people. But we feel better about being alive when we use resources respectfully, and return what we cannot use to the ecosystem. We are not entirely successful in this; we use the public sewage system and water system at our little house in the city. We had to dispose of the material from our gutted basement, the whole mouldy, mildewed lot, to a landfill. These are, to us, spectacular failures to recycle, that seemed unavoidable. Our choice of materials for renovation are as recyclable as we can afford, and manage. We are ever mindful.

I think with us it is where our natural aggressions and hostilities are worked out, brought into the world. We fight not against others, but against imbalance. It is similar to a sport, pitting ourselves against the great waste, the insane consumerism, that surrounds us. Sometimes we win, hooray!; and sometimes we lose, hiss! But we always try. That is our game, one that we have played for more than five decades; that is over fifty years.

Increasingly we see others playing similar games, adding glamour, glitz and pomp to it, the new “homesteaders”. There is a danger with glamour, glitz and pomp, in evolving into consumerism; the ads and gambits for profit abound. The new homesteaders aren’t inventing anything new, they are just trying to relearn a little bit of what has been lost, in a much diminished context; a very challenging project. Most of them don’t even realize that this has all been done before, and that there are still people around who have been living this way all their lives. I wish these new adventurers luck, and I am glad to see them out there making the effort.

We purchased another fresh food basket this month. I picked it up yesterday. It is a little bit sadder than the last, as the season for growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables is just beginning. Still, Attila calculates it is worthwhile. My only concern about it is that the produce is from the Ontario Food Terminal in Toronto, and we might be getting GMO products. That cannot be helped at this point, and someday we hope to live somewhere where we can have a viable garden. For now, the fresh food basket is the best we can do.

Both baskets have had pleasant surprises from local producers and food manufacturers. Last month we got a little bag of dried cranberries from Muskoka, which have been very nice, no allergens, so I’ve been eating them for snacks with roasted almonds. This month the surprise is a tiny bag of granola, locally made. I do not trust it to be allergen free. The label doesn’t list my allergen. However, it would only take a little bit of cross contamination to prove fatal. Small producers are unknown quantities, with shallow pockets and therefore less fear of potential entrepreneurial law suites. Their foods are seldom tested for allergens. I know that some have limited awareness of the insidiousness of allergens, sneaking into ingredients, undetected. So, Attila alone will enjoy this month’s offering of granola.

One thing that appeals to me about the fresh food basket it that there is no knowing what will be in it! This time around we received a bundle of fresh parsley. Attila immediately used half the bundle to make a batch of tabbouleh. What to do with the other half? This morning I rinsed it thoroughly, on the stem, and dried it in a salad spinner. Then I plucked the leaves and placed them on the dehydrator trays, which I now have sitting all over the living room. They will air dry all day, and then when hydro is less expensive tonight, the trays will be placed on the dehydrator and it will finish the job of drying.

The leftover stems were sitting on the counter and staring at me. What to do?

I have a “broth bag” in the freezer where I stash most vegetable trimmings when we prepare fresh vegetables. Worried that the parsley flavour would be too strong for the broth, another use needed to be found. So I looked online and found multiple recipes for “parsley simple syrup.” I didn’t like any of them, and the short shelf life of the syrup did not enhance their appeal.

So I made up a recipe of my own. It is a Parsley Syrup that I will use in cooked dishes, where I would use dried parley; dishes such as baked beans, soups and stews.

Parsley Syrup

Recipe By: Maggie Turner

Ingredients:

stems from 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt

Directions:

Place chopped parsley stems in water, bring to boil, simmer for 10 minutes with lid.
Add sugar and salt. Bring to low boil, boil for 5 minutes.
Pour into sterile jar. Refrigerate.
Use 1 tsp in soups, stews, baked beans etc. where you might use parsley.

I am quite pleased with the results. I need to make more salad dressing for myself today, perhaps I will add a little bit of my parsley syrup to it!

We also received two oranges. Tonight, when the hydro is less expensive, I will bake two Fresh Orange Loaves, and freeze them for Attila’s lunches during June and July.

I’ve been reading about dandelion greens as food. We tried them raw and they are far too bitter to eat that way, in my opinion. I’ve been looking at different ways to mediate the bitterness, and will give some of those a try. If I succeed then we will be well sorted for greens. Since many pesticides have been banned in Ontario, the dandelions are taking over the known world. So if one could eat them, the food supply would seem endless.

Our yard here at the country house has been left in its natural state, since we bought the place It has been nine years without fertilizer or weed killers or any kind of human interference, except occasional cutting. It will yield organic dandelion greens and flowers. The front yard at the little house in the city was seeded last year, and chemicals may have been used by the contractor, although that seems unlikely given that Terra describes it as a “sea of dandelions”. The backyard has been chemical free for three previous summers, so the dandelions from the back yard might be better for consumption. That is, of course, if I can find a way to prepare them as delicious food.

Are there GMO dandelions? I don’t think so.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

6°C
Feels like 6
Cloudy
SW 1 km/h Wind
83% Humidity
102.3kPa Pressure

Quote

“Sin bravely…We will never have all the facts to make a perfect judgement, but with the aid of basic experience we must leap bravely into the future.”
Russell R. McIntyre

I couldn’t find a single written word about who Russell R. McIntyre. I found an image connected to this quote, but no information about just who Russell R. McIntyre is or was. If anyone knows, please enlighten me!