The Problem With Pudding

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Black clouds are rolling across, overhead and in the distance, torn here and there with streaks of blue, as heaven tries to get in.

It is chilly now, autumn weather has arrived. Most of our leaves have fallen from the trees, but not all. The garden is taking its last gasp, almost everything with any chance of ripening has been harvested. The temperature is predicted to all to -4C overnight, and although the garden will be covered, it is up in the air as to whether that will keep it from being damaged.

Tank is supposed to be back in service Friday afternoon, it will be wonderful to have the feeling that I COULD get out and about if I wanted to. That feeling is very important to me. In reality, I only venture out a few times a week, and not very far, so not being able to do it isn’t all that intrusive, in the short-term. But I notice the difference in how it feels, the way the world seems.

The dehumidifier has quit for good. The small dehumidifier is doing a decent job of keeping the basement from becoming musty, but it is small and very energy inefficient. Last night I ordered a new one from Costco, a first time order from them, so we shall see how that goes. They say 7-10 business days for delivery, I hope it is 7! They are delivering by UPS, so the possibility of being hit by rotating postal strikes is small.

All in all, the cost of repairs for Tank, and the new dehumidifier, far exceed the cost of the new roof for the garage. Sort of knocks the wind out of any budget we had planned, but life is like that. We will manage to get sorted out financially by the time spring rolls around. Tighten down the hatches!

Attila has been able to get back to puttering in the garage, which he is very happy about. Last night he installed peg board on the high wall, a beginning step for organizing tools. Yay!

The freezer reorganization is on hold until the new dehumidifier arrives, as the increased humidity in the basement would result in additional ice build up from opening the doors frequently. It would probably be wise to use the time to plan the layout for storage inside the new freezer, think it through.

Harvest season continues to keep me busy. Almost daily tomatoes are ripening. A very full 1 litre jar of stewed tomatoes is sitting in the refrigerator, asking me “what’s the plan”. I might just steam can that jar of tomatoes, so easy to do now.

During my middle years, 20 to 40, I did a lot of wild fruit foraging. Jams, jellies, and baking with fresh wild fruit was fun and delicious. The recipe used for just about any kind of fruit gathered was Fresh Fruit Cake Pudding. This past week the craving to revisit that time of my life, a time when hope outweighed troubles, and to enjoy that pudding, was very strong. The Northern Spy apples provided the needed nudge to bake the pudding. I was shocked, after rummaging through my files to find the recipe, at how much sugar the recipe called for, and more shocked that I had, in my youth, considered that acceptable, even desirable. Once baked, after reducing the sugar by half, the pudding seemed very, very sweet. My, how my taste buds have changed!

The problem with this nostalgia pudding, is that it is irresistable. It was baked on Monday night. I had a little piece before going to bed. Yum! Tuesday morning, it caught my eye, sitting innocently on the counter, calling my name, whispering “breakfast”. Yes, it was breakfast. Same thing happened at lunch time. Same thing happened at snack time. I think you know where this is going. Breakfast this morning was a repeat performance, and lunch time will be too. By this afternoon that pudding will be gone!

At least last night’s dinner consisted of baked fish, a wee bit of rice, and few cups of vegetables!

99% of the time I eat a very healthy diet… but every once in a while the tires get blown off that vehicle.

Worldly

Weather

7°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Wednesday 17 October 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 7.4°C
Dew point: 2.7°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: WNW 20 gust 32 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.”
Washington Irving
1783 – 1859

Hot and Humid and Dry

Wednesday, August 2

Another sunny day, hot and sticky. The temperature is not all that daunting, but the high humidity clings to the body, fills the lungs, in the most unpleasant way.

My crocheted top is coming along slowly. I am designing it as I go along, and have ripped out a lot of stitches in my experiments. The panels of the back and the front are complete, and now it is time to consider the shoulder straps. To be honest, I am not enjoying this project all that much, as I have no idea what I am doing, and I am not confident the garment will be attractive when it is complete. There is a lot of learning going on with this project.

Our garden is thriving. I should really call it Attila’s garden. Each afternoon when he arrives home from work, he changes out of his work clothes, and heads for his garden. He putters there for an hour or so, weeding, examining, considering. It is a great source of pleasure for him. I remain at arms length when it comes to the garden, mostly because I enjoy looking at it far more than I enjoy working in it. But it is also important that Attila have a time and place to defuse after a long hot day at work; a place where he does not have to deal with people, even me, a place where he can hear himself think, breath slowly, and come back to himself. That is something I could not do while raising children, as the primary (and then only) caretaker I had not one single minute of time to myself, my daughters even waited by the bathroom door when I was using the facilities, it was exhausting. So I know how important that quiet time after a day’s work can be to a person’s peace of mind and well-being.

My day today includes errands. Paying bills is never really fun, but it is a lot more fun when the money to pay them is available! Today the money is available.

Our vehicles are getting old, so they require that we be attentive to their condition. Tank ran into problems and was towed to the garage a few weekends ago. Thankfully that problem was easily and freely resolved. Tank had another maintenance visit to the garage, for a regular oil change and look-over, she received a passing grade.

The garage where I take her has two hoist bays, two mechanics, the owner and his partner. Tank had an appointment, but just the same he asked me if I was staying while Tank was being serviced. We had discussed this on the telephone when I made the appointment, I was staying, he forgot. The garage is a mile or so outside of town, too far to walk on any day, let alone a sunny, hot, and humid day. I chatted with the other customer for a bit, and after a little while he gave up the one seat to me, by the open window. I was pleased, as despite my appointment I was told the wait would be several hours. Settled comfortably in by the open window, book in hand, cold drink by my side, the time passed pleasantly. The owner periodically dropped into the office to chat with me, about life and the universe and anything. He is a very nice man, an honest man, a pleasant man. My wait was much shorter than anticipated, perceived and actual.

Yesterday I received a surprise video call from an old friend! I had to let the call through four or five layers of security to allow it. The funny part was, it was a “pocket call”, so it means she is keeping me close to heart on that little portable device that determined that now was the time. When a machine decides to reach out to you, is it fate, is it karma, or are you a mere 0, or a 1.

Thursday, August 3

Attila watered the garden last night with bath water. The rain barrels are dry. Although the areas to the north of us have received a lot of rain, we have had very little. Attila also reports that the rabbits have nibbled away all the leaves from our second planting of green beans. What beasties! That was a whole month of fresh vegetables we lost to them, I hope they enjoyed their meal. Discussions about a fenced garden are now in progress.

We are planning on taking Iris out for a weekend sometime this summer. Iris is equipped with an ancient refrigerator, a two-way refrigerator that will run on propane, or on electricity. Last night Attila ran an extension cord to Iris so that we could test to see if the refrigerator will run on electricity. It took about an hour, and sure enough, the freezer section was getting very cold. This is impressive. The refrigerator is a 1977 model, making it 40 years old. We will be looking to take Iris out for a weekend at a camp site with electrical service.

In my dreams we travel around Canada, pulling Iris along behind us. This dream isn’t likely to come true, there is not time while Attila works, and there will be no money for such whimsy when he retires without a pension. But still, what would life be without a dream!

The music concert: I don’t think you really feel a part of something that you have to invite yourself to participate in, unless all the participants are there under the same circumstances, together by mutual choice.

Friday, August 4

We awoke this morning to a thunderstorm, with much needed rain. The water barrels have been replenished, the gardens refreshed. The forecast predicts more thunderstorms today, tonight, and tomorrow.

My new eyeglasses from Costco are a thumbs up purchase, so far. They are progressive lenses, where my former glasses were bifocals. I had tried progressive eyeglasses many years ago, and could not adjust to them. With the new eyeglasses my eyes (and balance) adjusted within an hour to the progressive lenses. I like the new frames so far, they are inexpensive plastic, and do not seem to slip down my nose as my last pair liked to do; the lenses are larger and provide me with a greater range of clear vision.

Plastic eyeglasses would be a bad idea while burning brush at Rideau Camp, those fires throw a mighty heat. I will retain my old bifocals, with the titanium frame, for working out of doors, and for emergency backup. My eyes have changed almost imperceptibly in the last five years, and for that I am truly grateful. The optometrist tells me I have the first signs of developing cataracts, but it will be some time before that becomes a problem.

The crocheted top is coming along. As usual I am learning the hard way, about designing the pattern, the shape, the size, the stitches. I will be very glad to get through to the end, and I have my fingers crossed it will be presentable. The idea was to create a mesh top to wear over tank tops in hot weather. I HATE bras, absolutely hate them, and prefer braless living whenever I can get away with it. But too much wrong-sort-of male attention gathers around my nipples when I go braless in public, in a tank top, or other knit tops, so I want a light cover up, to throw on when we are dashing out the door to the store.

We are planning to attend an all-day music event tomorrow. As usual food is a big issue. It is very challenging to come up with ideas for portable food that is low-sodium, low-sugar, low-cholesterol, and allergen free; that can be comfortably carried around all day long. One light meal we have come to rely upon is homemade sodium-free hummus, with low-sodium rice crackers. I love sandwiches, but commercial breads are too high in sodium for me, and my sodium-free homemade bread is too crumbly for sandwiches. Last week a search through several grocery stores yielded a relatively low-sodium English Muffin; 115 mg sodium, no cholesterol and only 2 gm of sugar per muffin. This will make an acceptable sandwich using onions, lettuce, tomato, and a vegetarian cold cut which is low in sodium and in cholesterol.

Because most value-added foods contain unhealthy amounts of sodium, sugar, cholesterol, saturated fats, preserving chemicals, and my allergen, we cannot just walk into a grocery store and purchase canned or packaged foods for camping or travel. I admit to being ill-prepared this summer, in planning foods that are portable and healthy. Last summer we enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches over the open fire, frequently, but alas the high-sodium bread and cheese has been implicated in the issues I encountered with my blood pressure last summer and autumn. Oh how I wish for a sodium-free sandwich bread!! You would think that the bakeries would respond to the demand, but no.

This afternoon there are tornado warnings in our area, seemingly downgraded to a severe thunderstorm watch now. The closest I have come to a tornado was at our country house, when the wind whipped over the back ridge behind the house, to twist and tear off the top 30 feet of the pine tree in the front yard, leaving a 30 foot high stump. I didn’t see it come down, but I heard it land on my Argosy trailer! My fingers are crossed that we experience no damage here at Mist Cottage, or at our Rideau Camp.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH IN EFFECT
25°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Friday 4 August 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 24.9°C
Dew point: 21.3°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: SSW 14 km/h
Humidex: 34

Quote

“We are generally the better persuaded by the reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others.”
Blaise Pascal
1623 – 1662

“At heart, the issues raised in a work of fantasy are those we face in real life. In whatever guise — our own daily nightmares of war, intolerance, inhumanity, or the struggles of an Assistant Pig-Keeper against the Lord of Death — the problems are agonizingly familiar. And an openness to compassion, love, and mercy is as essential to us here and now as it is to any inhabitant of an imaginary kingdom.”
Lloyd Alexander
Newbery award winning author of children’s fantasy literature.