This retirement thing…

This retirement thing is remarkable! Already I have found a routine for bill paying that will work for us, and it is simpler than ever before. Of course we have tightened our belts to the point where the only purchases are garden/food/shelter/transportation/medical in nature. Most of these expenses are predictable.

In keeping with spending money of food, kitchen equipment is something we invest in. I became aware of a little device while watching a youtube video many years ago. The content creator demonstrated opening a canning jar with a vintage jar opener. Wow, I was convinced I needed one just like it. At that time that style of opener was only available used, and they cost far too much to be considered. Then this style of opener began to appear on amazon, but reading the reviews I balked, as many mentioned they were not sturdy, and bent during use. I finally found one available from a company under their own brand name, made in China of course as everything is these days. They stated the opener was of higher quality.

Since we open canning jars every single day, this opener will improve the workflow in our kitchen. So far we have been using flat spoon handles to open jars, it can be tricky. So I ordered this jar opener from ForJars. It was pricey, but we deem it worthwhile as a high proportion of our food is in canning jars, and we are getting older, so easy open is important. It arrived, it is as high quality as the company claims it to be, and it works very very well.

We will be fine financially as long as we continue to be super frugal, unless of course inflation overtakes our limited income. Government pension increases are not keeping up with increased prices for life’s essentials, like food, which increases in price by the week at our local grocery store (Loblaws owned). Even old stock, with layers of dust, have increased pricing. But inflation is a worry we cannot prepare for, we have done all we can to reduce our costs, the rest is up to the Gods of Government and Corporate Profits.

It is great having Attila at home!

Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, his health began to suffer as a result of his working environment. Masks were very challenging in an already challenging environment. This was hard on him, and that was difficult for me to watch from the sidelines. With every day since retirement, Attila’s health improves. Although we both have significant health issues, we now have time to work out ways to deal with things in our daily to lives. Time well spent.

Attila has focused on the garden since retirement. He has upgraded the fencing to keep the rabbits out, even the small ones. He has enlarged some of the garden beds, transplanted perennials such as rhubarb and horseradish, setup supports for climbing vines, planted about 400 plugs using our seed collection, and planted three types of peas in the ground. He prepared one raised bed for me, where I planted beets and spinach, and the plants are already peeking out of the ground.

Today it is raining. Attila’s project is to remedy the dangerous tire storage in the garage. The rack is presently installed very high, over Attila’s head, so that it is relatively dangerous to get the tires on and off the rack. It will be relocated at waist height, which will make switching between summer and winter tires a whole lot easier in the years to come.

Yesterday I sorted wheat berries and milled flour. Today I am baking bread, Attila is cooking rice. The rice will go into the refrigerator when cooled, for our supper this evening. Our meal will be a dish I created a few months ago. I have jars of delicious Chow Chow, canned in 2020, using our end-of-season green tomatoes that year, meant to be eaten with meat. Since meat has become a condiment here, I had been looking for ways to use the Chow Chow. I could not find anything, so I decided to brown 1/3 pound of ground beef, onions, and garlic, then add a 500 ml jar of Chow Chow, and serve that on rice. Attila loves it, I like it, so it is a win with lots leftover for Attila’s second suppers.

I can hundreds and hundreds of jars of food, and only one jar has had a failed lid so far. As long as the lids are sealed, and the food was properly processed, it is safe to eat. The quality and nutritional value may diminish over time, but that is not a safety issue.

When canning, I start with fresh ingredients, primarily grown at Mist Cottage, use high standards for ingredient quality, use no plastic lined canning containers – only glass, and consider my processing to be less harsh than commercial processes.

I feel my canned goods are probably as highly nutritious after years on the shelf as those bought in the store before their best before dates. I cannot prove this, but the quality of even the oldest home canned goods has been excellent.

When Attila worked, his evening meal was extremely important to him. I understood this, and did my best to make sure he looked forward to every evening meal. The balance has changed on this, Attila can choose his breakfast and midday meals freely, as he is here to prepare anything he wishes. So dinners are more a shared choice. This way of doing things is a lot more fun. It is particularly pleasant for me, since I eat the same breakfast and the same lunch every single day. Dinners vary, we choose things we love to eat.

I do like my breakfasts and midday meals, even though they are monotonous. My breakfast is coffee and a muffin. Not just any muffin, but one of my low sodium, low sugar, low cholesterol, high fibre, whole wheat, oatmeal, flax seed muffins. There are some less desirable ingredients in my muffins, sometimes a little extra sugar in the form of molasses, sometimes a dried fruit, and for the last long while cheddar cheese and candied jalapenos. This is where most of the sugar in my diet comes from, my morning muffin, about one to two teaspoons per muffin.

My lunch is always homemade soup. I have favoured Stone Soup for the longest time, which has a little bit of meat for flavour, usually ground beef, sometimes a homemade sausage patty, 1/4 cup pearl barley, and a whole variety of vegetables, fresh, dehydrated, frozen, my canned garden tomatoes, and our homemade vegetable broth. I also add 1/8th teaspoon of salt to the batch, but since it feeds me for ten or more days, so this does not amount to much. The recipe also includes a lot of herbs. Going forward I will also be adding cooked chickpeas, navy beans, and pinto beans.

I do not need to vary my morning and midday meals, as they include such a variety of whole grains, and vegetables. Variety is the spice of life they say.

This past week I received a shingles vaccination. Within twelve hours of the shot I developed a fever and was feeling poorly. For the next 24 hours I felt very poorly, and spent most of that time lying down, occasionally dozing. With no appetite, I had to make myself eat, drinking adequate fluids. Then, after a good nights sleep, I felt fine again. I have another dose coming up in a few months time, I wonder how I will react to that one.

Well, that is us at the moment, happily watching time fly.



Updated on Mon, Apr 29 at 11:27 AM
Wind 23 NE km/h
Humidity 85 %
Visibility 20 km
Sunrise 6:00 AM
Wind gust 35 km/h
Pressure 101.8 kPa
Ceiling 400 m
Sunset 8:08 PM


“Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.”
551 BC – 479 BC

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Maggie, I’m so glad to read that “retirement” is helping Attila’s heath and that you’re holding steady. I put retirement in quotes because you tell us how he works all day long when he’s at home with you. But I bet it’s much more satisfying work. 😉

Joan Lansberry

I’m so glad Attila is doing better healthwise. I know I’m sure grateful to be retired!


So glad to hear that Attila’s health is improving thanks to retirement! How amazing that you can already see a difference!


BTW, not sure you know but seniors 65 and over can apply for Canada dental coverage.