The Terrarium

This morning arrived early for me, 5:00 a.m. I was up and about, puttering, sitting at the kitchen table with my copy of the Five Roses Cookbook, just like my Granny’s. Auntie Mame and I were chatting yesterday about that cookbook, she began with it when she was nine years old, and carried on to become a Chef. I began with it by my Granny’s side, as she used it all during my childhood. It was propped up on the kitchen table in Granny’s kitchen, the table was the only working surface in the kitchen, and beside it the wood stove burned happily, waiting for our creations.

Attila arose hours later, around 9:00 a.m., he needs much more sleep than I do, and usually uses the weekends to catch up after a week of working. As we chatted, sitting on our easy chairs, basking in the morning sun, I glanced at the living room windows to see a big fat black fly crawling across the glass on the inside of the storm window.

I said to Attila, “You know when the weather is warming when you see flies between the window and the storm window!”

Attila laughed and said, “Ah, yes, our terrarium!”

These old windows are the originals, which are single pane glass, with storm windows screwed onto the exterior frame. In warmer weather this space between the glass panes is filled with insects, flies, wasps, lady bugs. They leave excrement on the glass, they do not find their way out again, and their bodies pile up on the window sill below. We would love to replace these old windows, but the cost is beyond us at the moment. I can’t help but think the house would be easier to heat if we could manage new, energy efficient windows, not to mention the improvement in aesthetics. But they are what they are, home sweet home. And, I would choose windows that open, as these single pane windows do not.

The weekend looks like it is going to be sunny and mild, what a treat! Here in Ontario Monday is a statutory holiday, Family Day. Attila already has a shopping spree planned, he finds shopping for food relaxing and satisfying. His focus is on economy, so that he follows points systems. I have to admit he gets the most out of these systems, as he enjoys numbers. I leave it to him and tag along, sometimes choosing something I need to purchase, which isn’t very often, he has the basics covered. Most of my shopping is online because most of the things I decide to purchase are unusual, and not available locally. It is a good combination of shopping strategies, it works for us.

Twenty three years ago today we moved into our first house together. The day was much like today, warm and it felt like spring. The snow had disappeared, and walking was a pleasure. The apartment we had been living in had a problem with the water, so that we had been without water for a week by the time our possession day for the house came along. We didn’t have a vehicle, or anyone who would help us, but we had a large children’s wagon. That first day we loaded towels, toiletries, clean clothes, and food into the wagon, then walked the two or three miles to the our new house. The first thing we did was to bath, the girls first, then me, then Attila. Then we had a lovely picnic on the living room floor. We moved in the next day.

Our first visit to the new house was unforgettable, and not just for us. We enjoyed ourselves, and loved the house. Most of our neighbours found us a bit bizarre, coming to the house with our belongings in a wagon, and most had a sense of humour about it. One did not, and she had a son around Terra’s age. She was not a nice person and said some derogatory things about me, Attila, and our obvious financial state. Terra was very sensitive to this. The woman continued to refer to me as “that woman”, and eventually I didn’t let Terra go to her house to play with her so, it was such a negative environment. We did notice though, for all her airs, the woman’s husband left her and her children, she didn’t pay her mortgage and had to move out of the neighbourhood. I didn’t miss her at all. Other than her, we had great neighbours!

This morning I decided I wanted my hair trimmed. I had cut it about an inch long all over last year, and it has been behaving badly for the last few months. I am growing out the bangs, which I haven’t done since I was in my early 20s. I found a barber shop in a nearby city that was willing to cut women’s hair for the same price as they cut men’s hair, $11. I can afford $11. I liked the place! There were four barbers, one male, three female. All of them took time with the people they were helping, and did a fine job, even on me. I decided just to trim the back of my hair, I can always have bangs cut again at a later date, but first I want to see how they look once they are grown out, and if I like wearing my hair that way.

We decided to drop in the Habitat Store on our way back home. We found not one thing we needed. There were some lovely things there, but we have no more room at home. It was an enjoyable browse. Then we visited the grocery store where Attila had big plans for points. Having loaded up with needful things and points, we headed home with the loot, to unpack it and put it away.

Back at home much of the snow on the front lawn had melted, the grass was showing in some places, where it had been covered with snow when we left this morning.

Attila is now preparing a fish dinner, including a green salad and a stir fry. I am back to my puttering ways. And of course, spending some time before the mirror assessing and admiring my new hair cut!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 3:00 PM EST Saturday 18 February 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 99.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.5°C
Dew point: 1.4°C
Humidity: 65%
Wind: WSW 28 gust 46 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.”
Samuel Johnson
1709 – 1784

Be yourself, no one else is any good at it.

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Still the Lucky few

What a lovely, rambling post!I loved your account of moving with a children’s wagon, and your description of the storm windows on your house. Of course, I remember those items well, being more or less of that era. But the Five Roses Cookbook caught my attention more than anything else. I used to have one, and used it for many years. Your post had me wondering whatever came of it. My first cooking efforts came out of that much-loved cookbook!

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

My favorite cookbook was my grandmother’s. It’s actually a compilation of smaller cookbooks in a metal binder and is from the 1930s, I believe. I love how it has everything from the simplest of buns to some very extravagant dishes.

Such a cute tale, moving to your first home using a child’s wagon. Ah, those times of extreme low funds, I don’t miss them at all. Don’t really have any cute tales from that period in my life.

We had an amazing warm day, today. The temp was 12C/53F! Unfortunately, the snow on our grass hasn’t left yet but all the ice is gone, so very thankful for that!

Bex Crowell

“I am growing out the bangs, which I haven’t done since I was in my early 20s.”
That is so funny! I am doing that same thing right now. Haven’t gotten very far yet but I use a large gold colored flat bobby-pin to keep my “bangs” or “fringe” as they are called in the UK, back off my face. It’ll be a while before they are long but I can always cut them later if I don’t like it.