Squash

I like classical music. I have been listening to it via my MacBook Air, on Jango. It suddenly came to me that a lot of the loud crescendo type music might be deemed “male orgasm” music. Then I wondered about myself, because I like it. Then I wondered what “female orgasm” music might sound like, and realized how few female composers there are… actually the medley I listened to did not include a single female composer. A girl has to think about something on a Monday morning.

Yesterday we finished the last of nine loads of laundry, all hung out to dry on the clothesline, with great success. The washing machine does a great job, I must say. It is very different, than the top loading machines with an agitator.

Attila finished the wiring for the dryer, which should be delivered tomorrow. After he finished I decided to begin vacuuming the laundry room. The room is in the basement, the walls and floor are concrete, with some patches of paint left on the floor. It is very dusty down there. There are a lot of cobwebs and spiders in the rafters of the low unfinished ceiling.

We have an old vacuum cleaner that we purchased over 20 years ago, and it has been designated for use in the basement. I plugged it in and hit the switch to turn it on. There was an explosion of dust! The bag ruptured open and pumped fine dust all over the room. There was quite a mess.

I fished out the air cleaner and Attila brought it downstairs for me. After turning it on, to take care of the dust down there, Attila carried the vacuum cleaner out onto the back lawn for me to deal with. I opened it up and removed the split bag, then began to remove all the debris and dust that had exploded into the machine when the bag gave way. Attila located the vacuum bags, which we inserted, then took the machine back downstairs to try again. This time it worked without a problem.

I plan on vacuuming the spider webs frequently. Eventually I will get ahead of those little beasts!

We have been enjoying baked zucchini for the last week, fresh from our garden. Also from the garden, Attila harvested a dozen or so huge butternut squash. One of them was splitting, so I decided to process it right away. I cut in half lengthwise, removed the seeds, set the halves cut side down in a baking dish, then baked it at 350F until it smelled good and looked done, but since I went by smell I don’t know how long it was in the oven. After cooling, and scooping the flesh out of the skin, I mashed it well, and put it in containers in the refrigerator.

Last night a message from Terra arrived, “Are you watching the lunar eclipse?” When I looked up from the computer I could see it through the living room window. Attila and I stood on the front porch and watched the moon slowly darken, until the cloud cover was so thick that nothing further could be seen. It was a beautiful evening, the breeze was warm, carrying the sweet scents of the nearby field.

A much needed rain is falling today. As I gazed out the kitchen window at the falling rain, I immediately thought about Attila being out in the weather, as I have done for the last 20 years. And then it dawned on me, Attila is not out in the weather today!

Our heating fuel was delivered today, and the whistle is whistling loud and clear. Now we are ready for the winter.

This morning it was time to use the squash that was processed yesterday. The two dishes prepared were “pumpkin” pie squares, and squash soup. The squash soup is a recipe my sister gave me, and she got it from our cousin. It is lovely. The pumpkin pie squares, in which I substituted squash for pumpkin, was a new recipe, and it is a keeper!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 10:34 AM EDT Monday 28 September 2015
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: 18.2°C
Dewpoint: 16.9°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: S 27 gust 36 km/h

Quote

“At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.”
P. G. Wodehouse
1881 – 1975

Heating Bills

When the temperature at the country house hovers around -20 (-4F) first thing in the morning, the temperature at the little house in the city is often a bit colder. When the temperature at the country house dips to -30C (-22F) to -37C (-34.5F), the temperature at the little house in the city is significantly higher.

It doesn’t get as cold at the little house in the city, as it does at the country house, but it is sometimes colder at the little house in the city than at the country house.

Although the the sun shone bright this morning, by noon it was snowing again. I did not shovel the driveway after the last snow, and because Tank is a big vehicle, and I don’t anticipate having any trouble driving over the large bump at the end of the driveway left by the snow plough.

I had a restful night, and slept well. The single Tylenol tablet was very effective in taking the edge off the pain. However, I am unable to sleep on my side because the knee joint will tolerate no pressure at all, it hurts if something is touching it, such as my other knee, or part of my leg. I slept on my back to avoid pain.

Today I am wearing the knee brace, and that too helps with the pain. What is significant is that I can stand in the kitchen and do the dishes without pain, when I wear the brace. I hadn’t realized how long it has been since this has happened. Standing is very painful, but I can manage it comfortably with the knee brace. Small blessings!

Squash soup was on the menu for lunch today. On Thursday night I left two halves of a squash overnight in the crockpot, with about two cups of water. On Friday morning a spoon was used to remove the cooked squash from the tough skins, then it was mashed and refrigerated. This morning I sautéed onions and garlic in olive oil, added 2 cups of vegetable broth, ginger, and a pinch of salt, then set it to simmer for several hours. It is a delicious soup!

I have been thinking about being alone here, and have decided there are some real benefits to spending this much time alone with nothing but my own company. There is a sense of accomplishment in managing the house on my own. Of course, having a thermostat, a renovated bathroom and kitchen, and Tank in the driveway, go a long way to making this place truly comfortable. I am hardly roughing it!

The house is becoming familiar in all the right ways. The different sounds made by the physical plant, the furnace, the refrigerator, the ticking of the clock, the clunk of the plumbing… once familiar these sounds offer comfort. The street sounds too are becoming familiar. The roar of the big truck starting up across the street is recognizable, the sound of the garbage truck, the shouting of children on their way home from school. I am settling into this place in space, like a foot into an old shoe.

The mail at the country house has become less reliable due to the retirement of the post master, and the convoluted and inefficient manner of hiring that goes on as the company and the union spar. Not all of our bills are arriving in a timely manner. The hydro bill for the period of time that we spent at the little house in the city last month, and our visit during Christmas, has not arrived.

It was relatively simple to register and setup our hydro account online, which gave me access to the amount due on the current bill. It was double our usual bill, but all things considered, that wasn’t too bad. We used electric heat to heat the house because we weren’t there to fire the masonry heater. Attila estimated that due to the warm weather in December, it cost us approximately $12 a day to heat the country house. Last winter our absence at Christmas cost around $20 a day to heat the country house, as it was very, very cold during that time.

It will be interesting to see how much it will cost to heat the little house in the city this winter. So far the heat pump is doing a fine job, and ringing in at or below $1.50 a day. But that does not include the fuel oil used to supplement the heat when it gets too cold for the heat pump. We will have to wait until the tank is filled again to get a good idea how much fuel oil was used this winter. We started with 3/4 of a tank, and are down to 1/2 a tank at present.

We have a compost pile, so organic matter is put in the compost. We recycle, so cans and bottles and cardboard go into the recycling bin. In three weeks, all the other garbage I generated fit into one kitchen garbage bag. It was getting a bit odiferous, so I sealed it up, took it downstairs, and replaced the bag.

One of the little experiments I have been playing with this past week is separating the garbage. I am keeping a separate bag of garbage, and into it I put all paper that cannot be recycled, unsoiled food wrappings, and all plastic that cannot be recycled. At present this “unsoiled garbage” bag is almost full, and the regular garbage has two small items in it. Most of our garbage is unsoiled packaging! The thing about this “unsoiled garbage” bag is that it will not develop an odour or need to be thrown out quickly. I can accumulate many bags of “unsoiled garbage”, and then discard of it in one large green garbage bag, after several months. The advantage to this is that I will only need one tag for all that garbage, and tags cost money. I would prefer not to have so much in the way of unsoiled garbage. That will give me something to chew on over the winter.

Another quiet day draws to a close. I realize that it is the weekend only because the neighbours are home all day, providing me with new sounds to assimilate, and form sources of comfort.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City
Date: 5:00 AM ESTSaturday 17 January 2015
-23°C
Feels like -30

Country House
-20°C
Date: 5:00 AM EST Saturday 17 January 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -20.2°C
Dewpoint: -22.9°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: SE 9 km/h
Wind Chill:-27

Quote

“Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.”
Edith Wharton
1862 – 1937