Three Days in the Life

Sunday, November 8, 2015

He was at it again! My good Samaritan neighbour from across the street cleared the driveway again this morning! I am humbled by the generosity. For the moment it has stopped snowing, and is blowing, blowing, blowing. I would get by without the assistance of the neighbour across the street, but I would be just getting by, and struggling, and managing. His assistance has made my life much, much easier!

Monday, November 9, 2015

It finally stopped snowing! The path I had shovelled out to the front steps has disappeared completely under the heavy white blanket of snow. The driveway though, is clear, thanks to our neighbour. The snow is accumulating on the flat roof of the garage, which I am finding worrisome. So much so that I moved the new lawn mower out of the garage and into the basement. If the garage collapses I don’t want the ensuing insurance paperwork to tie up our ability to mow the lawn! Attila will shovel the snow off the garage roof on his next visit, which I hope is soon!

Our savings account is small. There is just enough in it to waive the monthly fees, until now. Now the bank requires an additional $500 in the account to waive the fees. Today I plan on visiting the bank and closing the account. The money will go into a high interest (that’s a joke!) savings account at another bank, where there will be no monthly fees, or other costs. I am not looking forward to this task!

Diesel had a grand morning. I bought him a fabric mouse toy, and he spends hours every day batting it around, carrying it around in his mouth, and standing beside the furniture it has scooted under, where can’t reach it to get it out again. Luckily for him, if I see him sitting in a strange place, I know why, and fetch it out for him.

Having decided that my cyclamen was the best food ever, he was eating the blossoms, Diesel would not leave the plant alone. So, while there were still blooms left on it, I moved it to the stairwell to the basement, placed on a sturdy cardboard box to elevate it into the light. It sits behind the door to the basement, where Diesel cannot reach it. Occasionally he sits by the door and stares at me, but I heartlessly refuse to comply with his unspoken demand for my cyclamen plant.

Attila is keeping the hearth fires burning at the country house. The cold snap continues there, and he needs to get up at 4:00 a.m. every morning to start the first firing of the day in the masonry heater. He heads back to bed after it is well on its way, and arises at 6:00 a.m. to close the dampers, and call me on FaceTime. We chat for a little while, as he struggles to wake up completely, and then he is off to get ready to go to work for the day. When he gets back from work he will spend the evening chopping wood for another firing in the masonry heater, and to burn a fire for several hours in the little wood stove downstairs. Then he eats, we chat on FaceTime, he bathes, and then falls asleep. The next day he begins again. I fantasize about a job where Attila works only five days a week, and we live together in a home where the heating system and a property that requires little maintenance; the little house in the city! Attila holds the fort in the north, while I live the dream at the little house in the city. Now all we need is to get Attila south, to the land of the thermostat.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Last night Diesel had a sudden spurt of “crazy cat”. He was in the bedroom, leaping about, crouching, acting in a way I had not observed before. After checking the room, I found nothing untoward. He immediately calmed and returned to his normal behaviour, sleeping.

This morning, at first light, I threw open the curtains in the kitchen, the ones just above the kitchen sink, hanging on the window overlooking the back yard. To my great surprise there was someone staring at me! It was an owl! She/he was sitting on the post railing on the porch on the back of the house. She/he did not find me very interesting though, for soon she/he turned her/his head away and became motionless again. I wonder if she/he is hunting those horrid little mice, or perhaps chipmunks. Perhaps he/she is often here by our back porch hunting. Perhaps hunting territories have been altered by the deep snow, which has a two inch icy crust on it after the drizzle we received. Whatever the situation, this is my first encounter with an owl at the little house in the city. I think this feathered friend inspired Diesel’s “crazy cat” spell last night.

Attila is feeling the weight of the winter today! He vented a bit this morning, expressing his hatred for snow. It isn’t the cold, it is the snow. He shovels it all day, moves it around to access something, then moves it back again. I listen with great respect. It is one thing to spend long hours in the cold and snow to shovel your own driveway, maintain your own property; and it is quite another to be obliged to do these things for a wage. I hope the “cold snap” snaps soon!

Here is the owl, sitting on the deck post just outside the kitchen window. I am not sure what she/he is doing there. Perhaps she/he is hunting, perhaps resting, who knows! When I opened the curtains she/he was there, and four hours later the owl had moved nothing but her/his head.
2015ScreechOwl feb10 2
I believe this to be a Screech Owl, fully grown. They are native to Southern Ontario, and are nocturnal, hence my surprise to see her/him sitting on the deck post. The post is under the roof of the back deck, so perhaps this owl considers it an adequate resting spot for the a good day’s rest.
2015ScreechOwl feb2015 3
This image portrays exactly who I found looking into my eyes when I opened the curtains. She/he stared for a few minutes, then lost interest and turned away, not looking back. Life!
2015ScreechOwl feb10

Later in the morning I heard the now familiar sound of the neighbour’s snowblower. Curious, because we had not received more snowfall since he last cleared our driveway, I threw open the front curtains to have a look. This is what I saw:

Our neighbour from across the street clearing access to the fire hydrant in front of our house. Firepersons would appreciate this if they ever needed to use that fire hydrant!
2015feb10snowblowingneighbour

Sweet potatoes make a great snack food. Boiled, mashed with olive oil, a dash of maple syrup, a pinch of salt and pepper, they are an instant food that satisfied. Two sweet potatoes are boiling in the pot on the range, and the morning snack is almost ready!

On the menu tonight is tuna noodle casserole, with vegetables on the side.

I am keeping myself very busy with my genealogy book these days. It has been on hold for quite some time, as I have searched for a good software program to prepare it for print, digital and paper. I discovered Scribus, an open source program, and it is working so well that I have been inspired to work on the book daily. The real challenge is the graphic content, it is time consuming to choose what images to include, and also to prepare the images for inclusion. I am working on page three, which includes four images! The book has 58 pages of text, the images will add quite a few pages to the final version.

The book I am working on now is the first of two. It covers the first generation that arrived in Canada in 1820, their children, and their grandchildren. The second book will cover the grandchildren of those first emigrants to Canada, and the descendants in my line, down to my Grandfather. The second book will be much longer than the first! Maybe I will pick up speed as I go along!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City

-13°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Sunday 8 February 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: -13.2°C
Dewpoint: -16.3°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: NE 35 gust 48 km/h
Wind Chill: -24

-12°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Tuesday 10 February 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -11.7°C
Dewpoint: -14.2°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: N 16 km/h
Wind Chill: -19

Country House

-14°C
Date: 6:44 AM EST Sunday 8 February 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -13.9°C
Dewpoint: -16.5°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: E 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -20

-20°C
Date: 6:15 AM EST Tuesday 10 February 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -19.7°C
Dewpoint: -21.3°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: NW 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -23

Quote

“When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other.”
Margaret Wheatley

17 Comments

  1. Thanks Bex, that confirms my decision to remove the plant to a location where Diesel will have no access! I’ve seen no signs of drooling or any other issues thus far, so hopefully we dodged that bullet!

  2. Bex

    There are so many things that are toxic to animals… you really have to keep up with the list of them and beware. I don’t keep any living plants in the house any more, I’m so paranoid with the dogs and what they might ingest.

    I am sick to death of this snow too and I don’t even have to move it… watching my almost 70-y/o husband out there yesterday shoveling out a neighbor’s bulkhead so they could run the city water hose from one house to the other (so one neighbor could get running water), all I kept thinking of was that my Dad died shoveling off his bulkhead during the Blizzard of ’78 and no one was home… my Mum and sister found him when they returned from shopping, still warm lying in the snow. I do not want this to happen to Paul!!!!! I am seeing more and more the benefits of moving south!!!

  3. I hear you Bex! I love flowers and will not give them up during the bleakness of winter. I will however go out of my way to keep them out of the way of foraging pets.

    The snow is intense this year, but for Attila it isn’t as bad as some years. I would worry about Paul too. Actually I worry about myself out there shovelling. The thing is, it is very hard work and if you are not used to hard work the sudden strain can bring on a heart attack. This is common in Canada, sudden heart attacks from shovelling snow.

    What about hiring someone to shovel all that white stuff. Here there are young people who will shovel a roof or a deck for a price. They are young and fit and used to it, and they welcome the money. It might be easier to find a good handy person who shovels snow, than to move south. Snowblowers are also a good investment for us older citizens. However, shovelling out a bulk head would probably need old fashioned shovelling. As Attila gets older I have every intention of hiring someone to take care of the snow for us. Once Attila retires that will be the end of dealing with heavy snow for us!

  4. Bex

    Paul is of the (old) school that says “Never hire someone to something when you can do it yourself.” And he takes it to all the extremes. Except for electrical and plumbing… otherwise he refuses to hire help. There is no arguing with him either… he’s just stubborn that way. If I lived alone, I’d be on the phone when winter first started to find someone to do it as there is no way I could manage. I just finished making Paul his granola and I am wiped out!!!

  5. Bex, I well understand the idiom of “Never hire someone to do something when you can do it yourself”! My Grandpa was like that, and so it Attila. It could be that Paul, because he makes a habit of taking things on, is fit to do so, and will live longer for it!

  6. I know Kate, I was amazed. And you know, here it is 5:30 p.m. and the owl is still in the exact same spot. She/he looks over at me through the window now and again. I think the owl is waiting for those chipmunks that live under the concrete pad of the back back porch.

  7. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    It’s sounding like time to make your neighbor a cake or some cookies.

    I was wondering if your lovely owl might be a long horned owl. How wonderful, to be able to watch it from close up for such a long period of time!

    So glad Bex told you about the cyclamen, as soon as I read what plant your cat was eating I had a bad feeling about it. Maybe you should plant him a tray of cat grass.

    Maybe you should check your local kijiji.ca periodically for jobs for Attila, especially as the weather gets better. Kijiji is being used a lot now for job postings.

    Maggie, have you looked into doing a TFSA savings account? I love that they have no fees. Or at least ours with TD doesn’t.

  8. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Geez, I look back at everything I wrote and it all sounds so pushy! It honestly wasn’t meant to be, I was just condensing a lot of subjects and alternatives in the post.

  9. Teri, I knew where you were coming from!

    The owl was very small, and it fits the description and pictures of the Screech Owl exactly, that is why I think it is a Screech Owl. It hung around until almost 6 p.m., and then flew away. I wasn’t looking with she/he left, so I don’t know if the hunting expedition was successful.

    I am keeping the cyclamen in the landing during the day where Diesel can’t reach it, and I’ve put it in the kitchen cupboard, door closed, for the night, so he can’t get at it while I am sleeping.

    The TFSA account is a great option, no fees, no taxes!

  10. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    I wasn’t sure about the Long Horned Owl thing because it was hard to see the little thing’s face and because I wasn’t sure of the size, but those “ears” on him got me to wondering.

    You’re only allowed to put a little over $5,000 per year into the account (though the TFSA’s have been going on for a while so there’s more room now) but when it comes to us I figure I never have to worry about over paying the TFSA, so it works perfectly for us.

  11. Loved the pics of the owl – how fascinating! I’ll see hawks and owls swooping on my property, but the most fascinating bird has to be the pileated woodpecker. OMG! I found your owl so interesting because of the length of time it roosted – how beautiful, too.

    We’ve had lots of gray sky but little precipitation. I have a huge group of family arriving on the mountain this weekend and the weather is going to dip into the single digits. It’s been pretty mild all winter but everytime my family comes, it’s frigid.

    Observation: Attila is amazing.

  12. Reenie, the pileated woodpeckers are amazing birds! We have them at the country house, they are huge. Their cry is unique, it reminds me of jungle birds. I only see them from a distance, or hear the as they knock, knock, knock on the trees.

    It will be a “cold on the outside, warm on the inside” weekend at your house Reenie! Enjoy your company!

    I read to Attila what you said about him! He chuckled and said, “well, you have to do what you have to do….”. He would be bored out of his mind without a project though, he just has a few too many right now.

  13. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    My gosh, no! We sure don’t need another winter like this one, starting from now. We had a record low here last night, -30.3C! That’s 22.5 below zero in fahrenheit! Brrrrrrr!!!!

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