Squash

It is cloudy and cool today, but not cold.

Terra and Lares and the Grandbabies Sunny and Sky dropped by for a little visit on Hallowe’en night. They parked at our house and walked over to the upscale neighbourhood nearby to Trick Or Treat with the other families in their social circle. The night was cold, so they were not gone very long. When they arrived back the babies played while we chatted. Sunny and Sky are walking now, and are just the sweetest little people. I could not get a good picture of them, they move too fast for the camera now.

Yesterday, early in the morning, I carved our Hallowe’en pumpkin, the Jack O Lantern, into pieces small enough to fit into a large roasting pan. After the pumpkin was cooked and cooled, the flesh was scooped into the food processor where it was pureed, then into freezer bags for this winter’s Pumpkin Muffins. The pumpkin yielded enough puree to make nine batches of muffins. It cost $3. The pie pumpkins at the grocery store were more than twice the price. I might purchase a pie pumpkin next year, to see if we find any difference in the puree, probably not. Our neighbours use this food only as a disposable decoration, which I find sad.

Most of our squash is now harvested, although I can still see three Hubbard Squash, and one Butternut Squash, still in the garden, surrounds by frost killed vines and leaves. Processing pumpkin and squash is labour intensive, but the results are worth the effort.

DSCF1484 One of the smaller Hubbard Squash we grew in our garden this year. I baked it skin side up in the oven for about an hour, pureed flesh, then placed enough for a single Pumpkin Muffin recipe in freezer bags. There are three more larger Hubbard Squash to be processed, and two Butternut Squash as well. This project will take about a week to complete.

My day is flowing quietly along. The crochet project, the blanket/afghan, continues to get longer each day. It is lengthening just in time to keep my legs warm as I work, on these increasingly chilly days of autumn.

I work on my genealogy book from time to time, but truly have flagging interest in working on it in a sustained way. A few people are interested in it, waiting for its completion, but most people who would find it interesting are unwilling to pay enough to cover the costs of publication. I continue bit-by-bit, nevertheless.

As I type I watch the flies, dozens and dozens of them, crawling on the living room window panes, inside the storm windows. They are very dirty insects, their leavings on the glass are quite ugly. It is still warm enough that these flies are active. A few of them make their way into the house, where I diligently hunt them down and kill them. It seems to me that I will very much enjoy new windows in the living!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

13°C
Date: 11:05 AM EDT Thursday 2 November 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 12.9°C
Dew point: 11.3°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: S 35 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.”
Henry Kissinger
1923 –

Sigrid Undset

Another day has disappeared, flowing painlessly and almost silently into the what-has-been. How I cherish this kind of day.

Deciding on what type of blanket to crochet has proven to be a time consuming, yet enjoyable process. At the end of the day, the choice has not yet been made.

The garden has yielded many pounds of scarlet runner beans, a veritable bumper crop. The plants are beautiful, the blooms brighten even the greyest, dullest day. The beans are a wee bit furry, and delicious. Attila has been blanching and freezing almost every weeknight, so that we will enjoy organic garden green beans with our warm winter meals. The tomatoes are not prolific, but have provided me with weeks of toasted tomato sandwich lunches. The tomatoes continue to produce modest numbers of fruit to keep the supply coming. The cabbage is small, Attila will use it in stir fries in the coming weeks. The celery is small as well, one plant in particular, but it will make a welcome addition to dishes all winter long, as we will chop, blanch, and freeze it. The squash has not ripened yet, but it looks to be a good crop of Hubbard and Butternut squash.

I recently gifted two genealogy reference books, which had been gifted to me. I left them under Iris the Trailer last weekend, well packaged in a box and a plastic bag, so that my fellow researcher could pick them up at her leisure. She willingly shares her research with others, and tries to help anyone with their research if she can, so that I feel the books well placed in her hands.

I don’t usually buy books these days, they are expensive, and they require storage space, if I fall in love with them and want to keep them near. Although I enjoyed the Ferrante books, I did not fall in love with them, they did not open inner doors and windows for me, perhaps because the author’s experiences are not entirely dissimilar to my own. I am thinking of donating the books to a library, having only been read by me they are in new condition.

I have been intrigued by the author Sigrid Undset (1882-1949), a Norwegian author who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. I had not heard of her before, and wonder why. She wrote two series of novels set against the background of medieval Norway in the 13th century: the 3-volume Kristin Lavransdatter, and the 4-volume Olav Audunssønn. I have just ordered the 3-volume Kristin Lavransdatter series, to arrive at the end of September. My winter reading will be ready, for cozy winter nights at Mist Cottage.

One night last week, deep into the night, while I was burning the midnight oil in the living room, unable to sleep, Attila heard a loud sliding noise, it woke him up. In the morning we discussed the sound, speculating on the source. It wasn’t until the next day that I opened my closet door, to find that my clothing was no longer hung neatly on the rod. The rod support had collapsed. Attila will fix this, in time. Attila and I will drive to the city tonight, to do some needed shopping, and will pick up the needed hardware. The very, very cheap wardrobes that we purchased on sale are not exactly robust. You really do get what you pay for!

Closet collapes DSCF1261 This what I found in my closet after Attila heard a loud “sliding” noise in the night.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Tuesday 19 September 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.2°C
Dew point: 19.1°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: SSE 12 km/h
Humidex: 29
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.”
Eric Berne
1910 – 1970

[Rigid parameters have their uses, but it is a sad day when control the way we see the world around us.]

Sun!

Yesterday the weather was miserable. It rained all day and it was cold to boot.

This morning the sun rose and shines still. Although it is still sweater weather, it is beginning to warm.

We visited Terra and Lares on Monday evening for a few hours, to share time with our Grandbabies Sunny and Sky, it was their first birthday. They are both doing very well, happy and healthy, and still a bit small for their age. Sunny, the girl, is a going concern, very active and engaged with the world around her. Sky, the boy, is laid back and mellow, and quick to grin, and oh what a smile. Sunny is almost walking, holding on to a push wagon for now, but not for long. Sky has no interest in standing, and is crawling when he sees something he wants to play with. They are so much fun! I lay on the floor with them the whole time we were there, they crawled around me, on me, and over me, what fun! It was a treat at the close of a dreary day.

Terra tells me that Luna, Janus and their Grandbabies are staying in Paris at the moment. Luna is not one to keep up contact, so Terra was very pleased to have received a video from Sunny and Sky’s cousins in Paris, singing happy birthday to them. I have been sending messages to the Grandbabies in Europe, and even received a reply the first week, but have not heard from any of them since, and don’t expect to. I continue to send messages though, just in case they read them.

Today I am busy crocheting a second cotton beanie to use while working in the bush, at the Rideau Camp. The first cotton beanie, a green and white cap, was great for keeping my hair out of my eyes, and for keeping the mosquitoes from biting my head. The yellow jackets thought I was a flower, and kept buzzing my head in confusion. I would stand very still and allow their winged investigations, as they would soon loose interest and move on. It is important not to frighten them, for then they might sting. The second cotton beanie is a brown and white one, and it remains to be seen if it will attract the wildlife.

I’ve just come out onto the back porch to sit in the sun for a while. The birds are singing all around, one little fellow is sitting on the fence near me, so only my fingers are moving so as not to frighten him away. There are insects flying to and fro, which is probably part of the reason there are so many birds about. In the garden five yellow and purple irises are blooming, as are the pink wild geraniums. Two columbine plants seeded themselves at the bottom of the the back step, and have put out profuse blooms. The clematis has climbed the fence, and it growing its way across the fence railing, it will be very pretty when it blooms. I can see the wild grape growing up the center of the Mugo Pine, again, every other year I make an attempt to kill it, and every other year it comes back again.

The laundry I hung up on Monday afternoon, when it was raining, is finally dry, and ready to be folded and put away.

The neighbour who backs onto our back yard has had magnificent children’s playground equipment set up for their only child, a daughter. She has just become a teenager, started high school, and they have now erected a basketball net on a stand on the driveway. Over the weekend the playground was dismantled, and sold segments of it were carted away to be reconstructed in other back yards, played on by other happy children. Some bits are still there, but they will soon be gone, as the landscaper who cares for their yard will soon be there to mow their large lawn, and keep everything looking manicured for them.

Our garden is doing well, but we still have not got our beans and squash planted! Our garlic, given to us by my Mom and Sister-The-Middle-Girl, is doing very well, as are the onions. Attila loves to garden, it relaxes him. I am different, to me the garden is work, and I think that comes of growing up on a farm, and working as a farm labourer during my teenage years; too much time spent stooped on the ground in the hot sun, or on ladders in trees on still humid days. I am very grateful that Attila finds it relaxing!!

It looks like we are in for some milder weather, at last!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Wednesday 7 June 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 14.9°C
Dew point: 10.7°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: S 17 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Thank God men cannot as yet fly and lay waste the sky as well as the earth!”
Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862

Maybe the past truly was the good old days.

Recovery Mode

Peace is descending. Attila is beginning to acclimatize to living here at Mist Cottage. His body is beginning to realize that the cold weather will not demand that he spend most of his waking hours bracing himself to spend almost every waking hour out in the cold. The need to brace himself, to suspend disbelief in his own desire to be warm and comfortable, is no longer necessary for survival. He can enter our home without meeting the wall of need, need for firewood, need for shovelling snow, the need for supplies when we were “weathered in”, my need for company when I had been alone in the bush for weeks on end. All of that is in our past, and this is a fact that is slowly sinking into Attila’s being.

When I was a single Mom I could not afford to be sick. It happened only once, and it scared the living daylights out of me. I had no one to mind the children, so I sent Luna off to school for the day, drove an hour and half through heavy traffic to the University, delivered Terra to the daycare, and spent the day sleeping in a toilet cubicle on campus, with a raging fever. Then I had to drive home and attend to getting the children’s dinner, homework, and bedtime, and at last collapsing to sleep a bit before I started it all over again the next morning. After that I was not sick again! Not until the children left home. Then my body decided it was safe to suffer, and I was sick off and on with colds and flu, for about a year. Then I recovered my balance and I have been good ever since.

Attila is now in the phase where his body has decided it is safe to suffer. He has had a bad cold for about a week and half, and it hasn’t lifted yet. He carries on, going to work, but at home he sleeps a lot, and rests. If he is like me, after a while he will recover his balance and carry on being healthy again.

I acclimatized last winter when I lived alone, here at Mist Cottage. By the end of the winter I knew I was not going to spend another winter virtually alone in the bush. I had bonded with the thermostat in Mist Cottage, there was no going back.

For the moment Attila is resisting leaving the house at all, except to go to work and to purchase food and supplies. He is in deep nesting mode, and may be for some time to come. Eventually the novelty will wear off, and he will begin to look around him and take an interest in the world, but not now.

I am taking advantage of our new environment. Now that my daily walks have been interrupted by the uneven walking surfaces on winter roads, I take myself off to large department stores, or the mall in a nearby city, to walk around for a few hours. It isn’t as consistent, or as pleasant, as my daily walk in our neighbourhood, but it is better than nothing. In addition, Attila and I walk up and down every aisle when we visit the grocery store. Again, not as pleasant as my daily walk, but it all adds up.

I am finding it pleasant to run small errands where we now live. For instance, the Post Office staff at our local Post Office are not interested in gossip, do not make rude or judgemental comments, or ask intrusive personal questions. They are people getting their job done, not interested in social engineering in the least. It is no longer a place to avoid at all costs.

I have run into a few “intrusively friendly” business people where we now live, but they have competition, and if I sense any sort of hierarchical thinking, I go elsewhere with my business. Although I believe in shopping locally, I do not feel the least bit obliged to endure attempts at social control. The small minded shall exist without my company, and without my custom.

Our weekend was quiet and productive. I baked a whole squash, freezing enough for two pies, and two vegetable side dishes. In an attempt to shrink the contents of the freezers, a bag of beef bones were boiled down into three quarts of beef broth, which were frozen for future soups. Frozen tomatoes, three bags of them collected over the last three years, were blanched, peeled, chopped, stewed, and two quarts frozen for future sauces.

We sold our big chest freezer with the country house, so now we have one upright freezer and the small second hand chest freezer, that I bought used several summers ago. The need to reduce the volume of food in the freezers is pressing. Eventually we will probably purchase a large chest freezer, but that is not a priority at this time. Next fall we plan on purchasing another quarter of grass fed beef from Terra’s neighbour, so we will be looking at freezers around that time.

Shovelling snow has turned into a recreational event for me, although Attila has yet to feel that way about it. We go out together with our snow shovels, and within a half an hour the job is done. Attila scoops up the heaviest load, and I concentrate on the picky little bits, like clearing the walkways and the front porch. This is much better than last winter, when I struggled by myself to clear the driveway, did not manage to shovel a pathway to the front door, and entered the house via the shovelled driveway and the garage.

I am on a bit of ramble here, just meandering towards the end of the day.

It was cold last night, but I was snug and warm in our little house, hardly noticing the weather but for the weather reports on the computer. It will be cold again tonight, and I will be glad of soft warm bed!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-19°C
Date: 5:00 AM EST Tuesday 19 January 2016
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -18.8°C
Dewpoint: -21.5°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: W 20 km/h
Wind Chill: -29

Quote

“A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions–as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.”
Friedrich Nietzsche
1844 – 1900

One Jar Down

Last night I was able to sleep for six consecutive hours. Bliss!

I arose around 4:30, and had several hours to putter before Attila arrived home from work. So I flipped on the back porch light, and ventured out to select a squash to cook, before the cost of hydro doubled at 7:00 a.m. Our harvested squash are sitting on the back porch, looking quite wonderful. I had already cooked, and we had eaten, the largest squash, one that had burst open as it ripened. I chose for this morning, another squash that had burst open. It was huge, at least 15 pounds! It would not fit into one pan, two were required to get it into the oven. Attila arrived home to the sweet scent of roasting squash.

Our car is having issues, something leaking in the back end, and making a lot of noise when the car reaches highway speed. An appointment has been made for tomorrow afternoon, with the local mechanic. Fingers are crossed that it is nothing serious. Attila took Tank to work, so as not to put more stress on the car.

A trip to the city is in order one of these days. I need a haircut! The migraine headaches started last week, because my bangs are touching my eyebrows. I try to keep them away from my face with barrettes, but my hair can be contained for only short periods of time, before it breaks loose and is back tickling my eyebrows and lids. The hair stylist was on vacation until last Monday, but there just hasn’t been time to even call for an appointment. I don’t want to cut them myself this time around, as my hair does need to be cut by someone who knows what they are doing.

Also, the first draft of my book should be ready for pickup in the city; better call them to touch base, they must think I am a “no show”. And there are boxes of items to go to the corporate charity store in the city, items that the women’s shelter and men’s mission did not want.

My day was spent primarily in the kitchen. This was not planned. The squash was baked, the oven turned off just before 7:00 a.m., and left to cool. Later in the day the flesh was removed from the skin, and pureed in the food processor. Then it was measured into two cup portions, which were placed in plastic bags to be frozen for future use. Two cups of pureed butternut squash will make one recipe of Pumpkin Squares. There were six two-cup packages of pureed squash for the freezer, and one package for the refrigerator for squares for our Thanksgiving Dinner this weekend.

While I was preparing the squash for baking, I perused the kitchen and spied a jar of green lentils. That jar of lentils came into my life with Attila, so it is over twenty years old. It is what I regard as “vintage food”. Waste not, want not! Two likely recipes popped up during an internet search on how to use green lentils. One was a salad, which did not appeal to me, but I knew Attila would like it, so I decided to give it a go. The other recipe I had spotted some time ago, it interested me. It was for Chocolate Lentil Cookies, a very unlikely cookie, in my opinion.

There were about four cups of green lentils, so I cooked all four cups. It turns out that that is a lot of lentils.

I made the salad, and have to admit that I loved it, and so did Attila. The salad is full of culinary excitement, I don’t know how else to describe it. The bonus was, after eating a cup of the salad, I felt like a million bucks, truly, a general feeling of well being took over my whole body. Who knew!

I made the cookies, and we both liked those too.

There were still a lot of lentils left, so I made a second salad to keep in the refrigerator, and a second batch of cookies to keep in the freezer for Attila’s lunches.

Now the green lentils are all gone, and the jar is in the recycling box. One jar down, many to go!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Wednesday 7 October 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 16.5°C
Dewpoint: 13.3°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: SW 11 km/h

Quote

“Rebellion against your handicaps gets you nowhere. Self-pity gets you nowhere. One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world – making the most of one’s best.”
Harry Emerson Fosdick
1878 – 1969