This and That

This and That

The hydro suddenly shut off at 9:30 this morning, with no warning. Hydro One claims it was a “planned outage”. Poppycock! The message informing us came via email, which was received at 9:45 a.m., fifteen minutes after the hydro service was cut. If it was indeed planned, they might have warned us ahead of time, but they did not do that. I don’t believe for a minute it was planned. Wait a minute, I guess it is possible they plan outages for people and don’t bother to let them know in a timely manner, so that people can prepare for such an outage. Regardless of the situation, Hydro One is not to be regarded as helpful in their notifications.

They hydro service resumed at 11:10 a.m., and we received an email message to let us know that it would be resumed at 11:15 p.m., an email we could read because the hydro service had been restored.

Hydro outages seem to happen quite frequently here at Mist Cottage. When I think about it, it is a more frequent occurrence here than it was when we lived in the country house. Luckily, my laptop is fully charged and I am able to continue writing this entry!

Sunday! The luxury of a weekend, I’ve appreciated them so much since they came into our lives. Attila used to work all hours, for years and years it was at least 6 days a week, dawn to dusk, and at times 7 days a week. Then he worked shift work for a few years, later in life, and that was a brutal adjustment. And then, miraculously, he worked five days a week and had two day weekends… which we have been enjoying for the last three years and nine months. We are counting, our blessings.

So here we are on this sunny, relatively warm (3C) morning! The weather is fortuitous, considering that we spent the morning without heat, due to the hydro failure.

I admit that my spirits were low one day last week, when a snow storm raged outside, I think it was last Tuesday. But that dip in internal balance righted itself by Wednesday, when the weather improved. Winter is not done with us yet, we have another frigid blast arriving next weekend, if the weather people have it right. But with any luck that will be winter’s farewell kiss. It is only a matter of weeks until I will be hanging the laundry to dry out on the back porch.

As usual, most of the energy intense projects have to wait until the weekend when the hydro is half the price. Since the hydro service suddenly disappeared this morning, it is a good thing the projects were completed yesterday. I was on my feet for more than nine hours, in the kitchen. I baked five loaves of bread, one dozen Cranberry Chocolate Chip Muffins (frozen for lunches), one dozen Orange Chocolate Chip Chip Muffins, and used the steam juicer to produce four cups of vegetable broth (frozen for cooking ingredient).

Vegetable scraps are saved in plastic milk bags, in the freezer, until there are enough to warrant processing them into vegetable broth. I use scraps that we wouldn’t think of eating, like onion skins, carrot peelings, the inner seeds of fresh peppers, that sort of thing. Some people use regular vegetables, that they would eat, and then dehydrate the solids to make a vegetable powder. If we had surplus vegetables this might be something I would experiment with, but we eat all of our edible vegetables.
Here is the steam juicer, with the vegetable scraps. I usually steam the scraps for two or three hours on a simmer.

Since there is so little counter space, the timing of each step for each project creates quite a dance. After a project is completed, a complete cleanup has to be implemented, to clear enough space to begin the next project. There is not enough room in the kitchen to tackle several projects simultaneously. There are a few advantages to this approach, as taking things slowly results in fewer errors, and allows for regular breaks so that I can sit for a few minutes now and then.

The condiments I made last weekend had no sugar or salt in them. It occurred to me yesterday that they would not keep as well because they lacked sugar and salt, which are preservatives. The vinegar in them will help preserve them, but without the sugar and salt their shelf life is diminished. So the Squash Sauce (a substitute for Plum Sauce) was divided into small containers, and put into the freezer. This sauce is a perfect dip for Sweet Potato Fries, so the small containers can be removed from the freezer and thawed, to enjoy with that treat.

Preparing small cups of Squash Sauce as dipping sauce, to be stored in the freezer till needed.

The containers used to freeze the Squash Sauce are little plastic cups, that contained single servings of fruit cocktail, purchased at the grocery store on sale. Attila ate the fruit in his packed lunches, and the containers were washed and saved for future use. There is very little single use plastic that comes into our house, we make our purchases with an eye to reuse.

The Sweet Thai Chili Sauce was being stored in a mason jar in the refrigerator, but has now been repackaged in a recycled squeeze bottle, that once contained commercial Sweet Thai Chili Sauce.

Attila has installed all of the drywall on the front wall of the basement, and is applying the second coat of paint today. Now he will turn his attention to rewiring. He has already done quite a bit of work on the electrical system, which was outrageously implemented. For instance, the electrical supply to the refrigerator in the kitchen circled the entire perimeter of the house, when the outlet was only about 15 feet from the electrical box. Attila thinks it was wired after they finished basement, so they wired around their walls etc. Crazy! We gutted the basement the summer we bought the house, ten years ago. It feels good to be finally taking care of some of these “good enough” upgrades implemented by who knows who.

Today my focus was on the lap blanket I am crocheting for Attila. At last, I am working on the border! Attila chose the colour for the border, so it is his design. I am glad to finish the blanket before the warm weather sets in. In the winter having a blanket on my lap is cozy and welcome, not so much in the spring and summer months.

Attila’s lap blanket. He loves the colour green, so I chose the green yarn to surprise him, and he chose the yarn for the border. This is a very warm blanket, the Suzette stitch is dense, and has some loft. This is perfect for chilling on the sofa to watch a program, or cuddling under for an afternoon nap.

I will briefly mention the COVID-19 coronavirus, that is in the news and tragically affecting many lives, as I am well aware of its existence, and its potential threat to the well-being of humans around the world. I have no idea how the situation will unfold, no one does. It has the potential of affecting any human life here on the planet, no one has a free pass in these situations, the virus has no respect for human social constructs, status or wealth. There is no cure, no vaccine, and very little knowledge at this point. Big business science has not followed through in finding solutions to this threat to human life. This is the third wave of coronavirus threat since SARS arrived on the scene 2002, and MERS in 2012. Attila and I check with the Johns Hopkins data every morning, and are not comforted by what we find there. All I can hope for humans is that they are able to eat well, live well, and that their good health carries them through. And that those who do not enjoy these advantages are able to get the health care they need to optimize their chances of survival.

Well, I did not want to end on that note, so I will share with you what I had for lunch. It tasted like junk food, and nourished me like health food!

I had Sweet Potato Fries, made in the Air Fryer, and enjoyed my recently made Sweet Thai Chili Sauce as a dip. The sweet potatoes were peeled, cut into 1/2 inch strips, then tossed with a tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika. The program for Fries was used on the air fryer, which is 400F for 18 minutes. They were stirred after 5 minutes, and again when they had been in the fryer for 11 minutes. With the Sweet Thai Chili Sauce as a dip, I felt like I was eating something that was too good to be good for me!



Date: 2:00 PM EST Sunday 23 February 2020
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.6°C
Dew point: -1.6°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: S 22 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
John Green

Life and star dust.


  1. I agree, the coronavirus thing is scary. (I recovered from a nasty two week long flu that wasn’t covered by the flu shot. I never went to the doctor, just used over the counter medicine, so I have no idea what kind it was.) I still tire easily. I pray we all keep well, as well as we can. (And the electricity holds!)

    The green blanket looks lovely, so nice and warm! I bet the Sweet Chili Thai sauce is yummy.

  2. Joan, so glad you are feeling better now! The flu is as scary as COVID-19 in my opinion, but not as viral, so it has less potential to affect as many people.
    Electricity is so essential to modern life. I felt a bit lost yesterday when the power first went out, but soon enough wandered into projects that did not require it. The refrigerator, the freezer, and heat were my main concerns. I guess air conditioning would be one of yours where you live.
    Thanks about the blanket, it is very warm, and I am guessing that I will use it more than Attila does, lol.
    The Sweet Thai Chili Sauce is almost gone now, Attila is quite fond of it. The recipe needs tweaking though, in my opinion, although he urges me not to change it. The next batch will have a bit of cane sugar in it, to take the bite out of it, and I will use a 5% vinegar, rather than the 7% rice vinegar used in the first batch.

  3. Thanks Bex! I used a 6 mm hook. The green yarn is 4 weight, and the border yarn, using the same hook, is 6 weight, which made the border very robust. Attila loves it. He has restless leg syndrome, and I am hoping that keeping his legs warm when he is sitting will help with that, time will tell. I love the green! I bought enough yarn for a blanket for me as well, but in teal, which I also love.

  4. Kate, you are welcome, I picked up that tip from a youtube video, don’t remember what video, but I gave it a try and have liked the results. It gives the broth a nice dark colour. I don’t usually use the first few layers of very tough skin, but do include a few layers of brown skin, and the ends as well, after having cleaned off any of the roots.

  5. Teri

    Sounds like HydroOne planned that outage about 5 minutes before they started sending emails out to everyone. Thank goodness you got it back relatively quickly.

    You’ve been busy! Lots of treats, savory and sweet, available. Yum!

    Attila is going to love that lap blanket when it’s finished.

    DH and I also check the COVID-19 data daily. It’s helpful to know that 80% of those afflicted get a mild form, many so mild that hit may have no symptoms. But that means it can be transmitted more easily, which is not comforting at all. Thank goodness deaths have been staved-off by western medicine. From what I’ve seen, the western death toll is below 1%. Though in China the death toll has been higher. Early on, the median age of death was 75. I’m not sure if that’s still holding true as it moves out into the rest of the world, but at least children don’t seem to be easily affected.

    DH and I are supposed to be travelling in just a few weeks, so we’ve been watching everything much closer than usual. And for the first time ever, we’ve taken out trip interruption insurance, just in case we have some problem while travelling. If trouble blossomed in our area of travel, we would cancel in a heartbeat and absorb the loss, bit for now things look okay.

    I remember when SARS came to Toronto and how frightened I was, and then it never went anywhere else. I hope we’ll be that lucky again this time.

  6. Teri, lol, yes that is what it seems. I was certainly glad when it came back on, luckily the house was still warm with the sunlight streaming in the windows, and the temperature above freezing.
    Yes, there some hopeful aspects to the COVID-19 coronavirus, but I am concerned as my Mom is older, and I have loved ones with compromised health, I want them here with us as long as possible. It is a positive though, that the Grandbabies don’t seem to be much at risk, at least there is that.
    I hope your travel plans work out well, and that you have a wonderful experience! The travel insurance is a great idea.
    I remember SARS as well, I was not living in Toronto at that time, and it wasn’t a huge problem where I was living. I had surgery during that period of time, and remember well all the precautions that were being taken in the hospital.
    I hope humans are lucky this time! I also hope that science works diligently on vaccines and remedies for coronaviruses, so that we need not lose people we hold dear.

  7. Teri

    There is actually a vaccine in testing stages for coronaviruses in general. It’s called something like Remdesivir. It was used on a SARS patient that had pneumonia last month and he showed marked improvement overnight and was discharged some time later.

    Uh oh, looks like my place is targeted for an emerging snowstorm, tomorrow. Hopefully this is the last upcoming cold spell. Obviously, couldn’t trust the Arctic Oscillation forecast from NOAA. Ah well.

  8. Sandy

    I love the look and size of your steamer. The blanket is beautiful. That particular green is very relaxing. The coronavirus is very scary. The elderly seem most at risk but there’s so much we don;t know about the virus. Teri’s information abot Remdesivir is encouraging. Thanks for the Johns Hopkins link. I bookmarked it so I can check it every day.

  9. Teri, I had heard something about Remdesivir, but I haven’t read anything to indicate it would be available for the general public, or used in Mainland China where many people are dying. Fingers crossed that it will help some people, hopefullyl anyone who wants and needs it.
    Snow and cold predicted here too, but as of this morning no snow has yet arrived, it can come as rain as far as I am concerned, but it will probably be snow. Saturday night is supposed to be frigidly cold, hopefully the last of the frigid blasts!

  10. Sandy, I love the steam juicer, and only became aware of them several yeasr ago. Thank you re the blanket, it is chancy ordering yarn colours over the internet, the yarn came from Hobium, so I am pleased that Attila loves it.
    The virus is scary! People 70 and over seems to be more at risk, as are those with some types of health issues, and those who smoke, but as you point out, we don’t know much about the virus. I do home Remdesivir, or another development, helps a lot of people. The Johns Hopkins data is the only site I consult about the virus, although the data cannot be comprehensive, and I wonder about the veracity of information provided by China, the Johns Hopkins is the best available to the public.

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