Dec 28, 2020

Melalgia Monday

melalgia ~ pain in the limbs

And so we come to another year’s end. Here, let me open the door for you 2020 – don’t let it hit you in the ass on your way out.

Last year start out on a low note – we had to have one of our two remaining fur babies put down – and never really got much better. Who would have thought a mere virus could have changed the world so much? Well, who other than Stephen King (seriously, read The Stand )?

If you’re an introvert, like me, you’d think the idea of staying home would be pretty appealing, but there’s a big difference between staying home voluntarily and being told to stay home. Still, people learned to adapt. Some made great use of their time and others (like me) did not.

What started out as a two week extension of the March Break became a move to on-line learning for schools. People worked from home where they could and if they couldn’t they just stayed home. As the social distancing continued, our local beach was closed – by public demand –people wore masks when going out in public and stood in lines to shop for necessities.

Things began to open up again and people began to relax, only to have the numbers rise and things starting to shut down again. Still, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. A couple of different vaccines have been developed and even now are being administered around the world. But the speed by which these vaccines passed through the testing stages have opened a whole other can of worms – should we or shouldn’t we trust them? I’m no scientist, so I’ll leave it to the experts to duke it out.

As I write this, we’re back in lock down again. Apparently people are just unable (or unwilling) to learn their lesson and follow the rules. I got to see my daughter and granddaughter at Christmas, so that’ll hold me for a while, but let’s hope the new year brings new hope for the end of the pandemic.

Dec 21, 2020

Mantic Monday

mantic ~ of, like or pertaining to divination; prophetic; divinely inspired

Last week I shared a few of my favourite humorous Christmas videos, this week I’m sharing a few of my more serious ones. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

David Bowie and Bing Crosby - Little Drummer boy

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - I Believe In Father Christmas

Faith Hill – Where Are you Christmas

Imperial March/Carol of the Bells

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Eve in Sarajevo

Dec 14, 2020

Militaster Monday

militaster ~ soldier without skill or ability

Well, the renovation has pretty much come to a standstill until the new year. Someone was supposed to come Friday to re-measure our counters but we never heard from them. The hubby has the new sink sitting in place and I gotta say, it looks pretty good – even without taps or counter.

It’s kind of frustrating that I can’t even really finish loading up the cupboards. The upper cabinets need the trim around the top and it’s better to do that with the cupboards empty, so anything I put in there will just have to come out again. And the lower cabinets on either side of the sink – well, the one on the left would only need to be unloaded again when the plumber needs to get at the pipes to hook up the sink, and the one on the right needs to be empty so the plumbing for the dishwasher can be snaked through it. And I have to wonder, if I’m going to have hoses going through there, is that going to interfere with the lazy susan on the bottom?

But meanwhile, we only have two Mondays until Christmas, so I would be remiss if I did not keep up with my holiday tradition of posting Christmas Carols for your listening pleasure. And in keeping with tradition, I’m starting out with a few of my favourite funny ones. So here they are, in no particular order.

All You Need Is Elves

I'm Climbing Up the Christmas Tree

12 Pains of Christmas

Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire

I Am Santa Claus

Dec 7, 2020

Muchity Monday

muchity ~ great size or bulk

I’m starting to think that this kitchen renovation is symbolic of 2020 – it’s just one thing after another.

Our new sink did not arrive before the guy came to measure for our counters, and apparently the printout of the specs taken from the website was not an adequate substitute for the real thing. When we received the email for the cost, it added that we’d have to either arrange to take the sink to their place of business for measuring, or have the guy come here again – at our expense. Oh, and the stone we want won’t be available until “early 2021.”

The design guy at Home Depot has been spectacularly unhelpful, and has started ducking our calls. For one thing, he told us we had to have the counters in before we could have the sink installed, however the counter people say the sink has to go in first because it’s an undermount. And we’re pretty sure there needs to be some kind of support in there too – which our current sink space does not have.

So, not only do we have to find an electrician to recess the wiring for the stove and create an outlet for the microwave, we also need to find a contractor to come in to build the support for the sink, and a plumber to hook up the sink and dishwasher. Which, seeing as it appears that everyone’s pandemic pastime seems to be renovating, is going to be a quest and a half.

But a little bit of good news, we finally got the cupboard doors back from the glass people:

The picture doesn’t really do it justice. Have you ever tried to photograph glass? That’s a leaf design in it, in case you were wondering.

And the hubby has finished the flooring in the kitchen:

I’m starting to refill the bookcases in the dining room that I had to empty so they could be moved for the flooring to be installed, but it’s slow going. The hubby had to patch a few holes in the kitchen walls, so that meant drywall dust. I’ve cleaned the bookcases, but everything going back in them has to be cleaned too. It’s a thankless task, I tell you what.

But at the same time I’m also weeding out a few things – knick knacks mostly – for the ever growing donation pile. I’m being cautious when it comes to filling the kitchen cupboards though because the contractor will be back in the new year when the wider trim comes in, and apparently the cupboards need to be empty for him to put it up.

So . . . in case you haven’t figured it out, there will be no Christmas baking this year. Even if by some miracle I have a working sink, I still won’t have counters. No counters mean no cookies - no place to put them to cool, no place to roll them out.

I wonder how many different kinds of fudge I can make?

Nov 30, 2020

Methomania Monday

methomania ~ morbid craving for alcohol

There’s no joy in reno-ville today.

It’s amazing how something that started out so promising went down the crapper so quickly. Where do I start?

I got a call last week from the company that makes our cabinets. We aren’t getting the missing cabinet, the trim, or the replacement doors until the week of, brace yourself, January 15. They said something about not wanting to pay the contractor to come in twice, despite the fact it was their error that the cabinet was missing from the original shipment.

And by the way, the proper doors for the cabinets will cost us an extra $450.

We were getting impatient about the counter guy coming to measure for our counters and finally called the company only to be told they were waiting for a deposit before he was sent out. This was the first we heard about it – this is something the designer at Home Depot should have told us about. So the hubby rushed out to make the deposit and the guy is coming some time today.

So in preparation, the hubby pulled out the sink we’d bought last year when we started talking about renovating the kitchen (the son-in-law got us a really good deal on it). Uh oh. There’s a problem. It’s an apron sink, which means it hangs over the edge of the counter, and our counter isn’t built for that.

Off to Home Depot we went yesterday to find a new sink but of course they didn’t have any copper coloured ones in stock so we had to special order it. The good news is that it’ll be here this week. The bad news is, the counter guy may not take our word for the measurement and decide to delay things until the new sink is here, which means the counters won’t be here until the new year.

Meanwhile . . . the hubby noticed that if you took out the spaces between the sets of lower cabinets where the sink goes, it would pull the side cabinets forward and we wouldn’t need to change the doors. So we called the contractor to see if this was possible and he said maybe, but he wouldn’t advise it, but we could get an electrician in to do something with the wiring for the stove so we could push it back further and then we could open the cabinet without changing the door. At least we get the satisfaction of calling the cabinet people and telling them to cancel the extra doors.

So in the meantime, I’ve continued filling what cupboards I could. The hubby suggested I use one of the two wide cutlery drawers as a tea drawer, but I found I needed a little more space than that:

Okay, to be fair there's a can of coffee and some hot chocolate in there as well, but most of it is tea. :-)

And my favourite (and the most expensive) cupboard is the pantry:

And there was one upside to the cessation of work in the kitchen, the hubby was finally able to start laying the floor in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. This shows the comparison between the old floor and the new:

And this one shows the living room with the new flooring. We almost hate to cover it up with the throw rug:

Now everybody cross their fingers that the counter guy has good news for us regarding the delivery date for the counters. Otherwise I won’t have a kitchen again until the new year.

Nov 23, 2020

Malinger Monday

malinger ~ to feign sickness in order to avoid duty or work

I have to say, our contractor is amazing. And I have the pictures to prove it.

Just to remind you of how things looked, here’s a picture of the corner we had for the coffee maker before the renovation:

And here’s the same corner afterwards:

No, the dishwasher will not be going beside the counter, it’s just sitting there to keep it out of the way. We plan on running the stone counter all the way to the edge of the wall, and there’ll be space under the end of it for a stool or recycling or something.

That tall, skinny cabinet in the corner is the pantry. The door opens and there are wire basket shelves on both sides. The ones on the door aren’t adjustable, but the ones on the inside are. My only complaint is that there aren’t more of them. There’s a lot of wasted space inside.

Next we have the corner where you can see just the edge of the sink and where we had our dishwasher:

And here’s what it looks like now:

That empty space is where the dishwasher will be moved to. And see that bi-fold door on the lower cupboard in the corner? That opens up to a large space with a lazy susan on both the upper and lower shelves. I plan on putting baking stuff in that cupboard. Pans and cookie cutters and what have you on the bottom, and flour, sugar, etc. on the top. I can’t wait to start filling it up!

However . . . they’ll need to access that cupboard to run the line for the dishwasher so there’s no point in putting stuff in there just to have to take it out again. Plus the hinges are on the wrong side of the doors, so they have to be re-ordered.

I was able to start putting stuff in the pantry and in the cupboards above the lazy susans late last week. We don’t really have more cupboard space, but we do have more shelves in them and the shelves are adjustable! And we’ll definitely have more counter space because the counter is going over the dishwasher as well.

But . . . as I was filling the upper corner cupboard with our every day dishes, I wrenched my shoulder trying to lift the stoneware and now I only have limited movement on my left side. And when I say limited, I mean it. I can’t hold anything with any weight to it, nor can I raise my arm more than waist level. Ouch! That's going to slow things down considerably.

Plus, I can’t start putting stuff in the coffee cupboard (the one beside the pantry with the empty doors) until the glass has been put in. We picked out some fancy glass but it’ll take another couple of weeks to arrive at the glass place.

And they haven’t been in to measure the space for the counters yet. Once they measure for it, it’ll take a week or two for it to come in. But the contractor can't put in the sink and hook up the dishwasher without the counters in place first. Also, notice anything missing from above the stove?

There’s supposed to be a special microwave cupboard/stove vent in that space, which somehow got lost in transit. So it had to be re-ordered. The woman said she put a rush on it, but the cupboards took forever so I think we’re still looking at a couple of weeks.

And have you noticed how things are locking down again? I just hope we get our kitchen done before this happens.

Dear Santa . . .

Nov 16, 2020

Microsomatous Monday

microsomatous ~ having a small body

Warning! Picture heavy post ahead

Welcome to the chaos that is my life! The kitchen renovation is well under way, so I have lots of pictures to show you. First up, this is what my dining room looks like. This is only what I deemed essential stuff. There are 16 more bins of kitchen stuff in the hubby’s office down the hall.

Next we have the breakfast nook after I just started clearing out:

Followed by the breakfast nook after the cupboards had been ripped out:

Here’s what the sink side of the kitchen looked like before:

And here’s what it looks like now:

Surprisingly, cooking in the kitchen isn’t too big of a problem because the stove is still hooked up. But coffee, tea and toast needed a creative solution:

Cleaning up, however is a royal pain in the butt!

And you think all of the above is bad enough? The very next day the new cabinets were delivered. And even with the old ones torn out, things are pretty tight around here. This is the view from the living room side:

And this is the view from the kitchen side:

The installer is supposed to be back on Wednesday to start installing the new cabinets, so at least we’ll have some space to move around. But the kitchen won’t be finished until the counters are in, and they can’t even order the counters until the cabinets are in. No counters means no sink. If they do their job right and we’re lucky, we might get counters in early December.

Seriously, what were we thinking?

Nov 9, 2020

Mofussil Monday

mofussil ~ provincial; rural

It was too beautiful a day on Saturday to spend it inside, so the hubby and I took a road trip to Peterborough. We dropped off a load of kitchen donations and then went down to the park downtown and took a walk along the river. Without our coats on.

Yes, it was that nice outside. It was, in fact, 23C, which is about 73F – in November! No Global warming here, I’m sure.

I think my purple plant is a lost cause. After I took it out of its plastic bag I rinsed it off and repotted it (cleaning out the pot first) and put it back on its isolation table. After a few days it still didn’t look very happy and I’m pretty sure the bugs are coming back. I’ll give it another day or two, but if I’m right the plant is toast. I like it, but not enough to keep this up.

As for the kitchen renovation progress . . . I’ve emptied as much as possible from the kitchen cupboards. What remains is stuff we use on a daily basis and our small appliances (toaster, coffee maker, microwave, toaster oven). I know where most of the stuff is going to go, but I’ll wait until Tuesday night before moving it all.

As you can see, most of it is stacked up in the hubby’s office (my old one) across the hall from my present office. The rest is on and around the dining room table that’s been pushed against the wall in the dining room.

We finally heard from the cabinet people, the cabinets will arrive on Thursday, the day after the old ones are scheduled to be ripped out. At least we’ll have some place to put them.

The wall paper’s been stripped from the walls, and what repairs could be done with the walls not covered by the cupboards. As I sit here typing this in my office, I’m looking at a haze of drywall dust in the hallway and breathing it in.

No, there’s no actual dry-walling going on, but the walls aren’t in the greatest of shape and needed some minor patching. But this means drywall dust, and drywall dust gets everywhere. Cleaning up after it is not just a slap dash with the dust cloth. Everything is going to have to be washed down – floors, walls, windows, plants, knick knacks . . . And it’s not just in the kitchen and dining room. Like I said, I’m breathing it in sitting here in my office. By the time the kitchen’s done it’ll be through the entire house.

Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe dusting? I would rather do anything else in the world than dust.

I feel a headache coming on.

Nov 2, 2020

Malm Monday

malm ~ calcareous loam used in making brick

So last week . . . I don’t even have the excuse that it was a holiday, I just didn’t have much to talk about I guess. I don’t have much to talk about this week either, but I’ll give it a shot.

You know fall is well under way when you have to use the snow brush to brush the leaves off your car in the morning. I wish I’d taken a picture of it, it was pretty funny. The neighbour’s maple tree overhangs our driveway and it seems to like dropping its leaves on my car.

Update on my purple passion plant: even after using the soapy water on it, the bugs came back. I’m not sure they’re aphids – what do you think?

I ended up getting a commercial insecticide spray. I took the plant outside, sprayed it, and tied it up in a clear plastic bag before bringing it back inside. I’m cautiously optimistic I’ve got those little buggers licked, but the plant is on a stand by itself for now.

And my wandering jew that was doing so well outside? I waited too long to bring it back inside. We had a heavy frost one night and it did a very thorough job of killing it. Oh, well. I do have a couple others still living, and they’re pretty easy to propagate.

The gardens have been put to bed for the winter. What remains of the vegetable plants have been pulled, the roses are covered, and my bulbs are still sitting in their bag because I forgot I had them.

The new cabinets for the kitchen are supposed to arrive sometime this week. When, exactly, we have no idea, just any time between the 2nd and the 6th. And where are they going to go? No, seriously, I’m asking you. They’re coming directly here and the actual renovation isn’t starting until next week. So meanwhile, we’ll have cabinets stacked up wherever there’s room in the living room/dining room.

I’ve been steadily emptying the old cupboards and it’s quite the job, I tell you what! I’ve got nine bins stacked in the hubby’s office, and that’s just stuff we won’t really need for the next month. I’ve also got two bins of donations so far, and filled one of the super sized garbage bags for the dump. I’ve moved the dining room table and chairs against the wall and the wing chair that was in the dining room is now in my office.

I’m trying to be as organized as possible, but it’s not easy. It’s hard to figure out what we’ll need the most access to. The baking supplies aren’t as necessary as the food from the pantry cupboard, so that’s in a bin in the bottom of the stack in the dining room. I’ve got a protective layer on the dining room table where we’ll have the toaster, coffee maker, and toaster oven – we’re not sure if we’ll have access to the stove.

The old cupboards are getting ripped out starting on the 11th, but we don’t know how soon the new ones can go in. Will the walls need fixing as well as painting? Do we need to put the new floor in before the counters go in? And while the old sink is getting ripped out with the cupboards, the new one won’t be going in until we get the new counters, which is the last thing going in.

Oh, I can see fun times ahead.


Oct 19, 2020

Montre Monday

montre ~ visible pipes of an organ

Why yes, I did miss last week’s post. That’s because in Canada it was the Thanksgiving weekend and I was recuperating from the humongous dinner I made. Normally I try and get this post written Sunday night, but I spent all day in the kitchen getting dinner ready and by the time I got to sit down afterwards, I just didn’t have the energy. And Monday I just forgot.

Dinner was pretty darn good if I do say so myself. The turkey was moist (for a change) and I got most of the grunt work done well ahead of time. Made a big difference spreading the work out over the day instead of rushing around trying to get everything done at once. I had my four side dishes in foil containers, so when the turkey came out of the oven, they went in to reheat. Worked like a charm. And made clean up a little easier too.

The carrots and beets we had with dinner came from my own garden, although to my chagrin I had to buy green beans at the grocery store. If you’ve been following my gardening progress you’ll know the beets were pretty small, and it took the entire crop for the dinner.

I used up all my carrots as well, as tiny as they were. They were so small I couldn’t peel them, I just scrubbed them really well. It was a lot of effort to go to for a single pot of carrots. If they’re this small next year I’m going to save myself the trouble and use store bought!

The nice part about being so well organized was I had a nice chunk of time to socialize before dinner. Usually everyone gets here and I can hear them talking and laughing in the living room while I’m chained to the stove. Figures that this year I was ready to be sociable and they didn’t arrive until right before dinner.

As you may know, the daughter’s birthday falls on Thanksgiving weekend, and her birthday cake of choice is cheese cake. It started out with a peanut butter cheesecake, which was really yummy, but the last few years she’s branched out to different flavours, thanks to the internet.

This year’s cheesecake was a white chocolate, lemon cheesecake:

This one had a shortbread crust (with lemon zest), and I whipped my own cream for the topping. It turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

Remember the purple passion plant that got banished to the outdoors and did so well I brought it back in? Well, it’s a good thing I kept it away from my other plants. Apparently the aphids liked the great outdoors as well, but they like being in the house even more. I sat the plant in the sink and sprayed it within an inch of its life with diluted dish soap, which seems to have done the trick, but I’m not taking any chances. It’s still in isolation and I’m checking it daily.

If the aphids come back I’ll spray it again and maybe try changing the potting soil, just in case the little buggers are burrowing in to escape the soap. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll try a commercial bug spray. I really do like that plant.

The nights are getting steadily cooler – maybe it’s time to think about bringing that wandering jew in as well.

Oct 5, 2020

Micromancy Monday

micromancy ~ divination using small objects

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and since I really don’t have much to say about last week I figured it was time for another picture post. :-D

The first two pictures are ones I took down at the waterfront a few weeks ago when I went to meet my friend. Our beach was fenced off for the summer to keep the non-socially distancing tourists away. Despite the fact this meant the locals weren’t able to use the beach either, most of us were okay with that. Just because the beach had a fence around it didn’t mean it couldn’t be pretty though.

One of the local artists took it upon herself the spruce up the fence with some woven artwork – these two pictures were taken at the east end of the fence, but there were others as well. As I understand it, the feathers weren’t part of the original art, people just started adding them.

And as you can see, the rules have been relaxed a bit now, and the beach is open through the week and closed on weekends.

And remember those plants I banished to the great outdoors because they picked up aphids? Well they actually flourished outside this summer. The weather has turned a bit cool and the one plant was so beautiful I figured I’d bring him back in. This is my purple passion plant, and while I think he’s happy to be inside again, he’s going to stay by himself until I’m sure he hasn’t brought any friends in with him.

The wandering jew is still outside because he ended up planted in a pot with a couple of other plants (which are not houseplants) and I have to find a pot and some dirt for him before I bring him back inside.

The next three pictures are of the basement. It’s pretty much done, except for the furniture. We’re expecting a reclining love seat sometime today, so at least the hubby can go back to watching TV, but the rest of the furniture isn’t due until November. You, know, right in the middle of the kitchen reno.

Sep 28, 2020

Maltster Monday

maltster ~ one who makes or deals in malt

We’ve been having what I think of as the perfect summer weather (even though it’s fall now) – bright and warm during the day, cool enough to sleep without air conditioning at night. Yesterday the breeze wafting in the windows was warm enough the air conditioning kicked in.

Apparently my roses like this weather too. The picture above was taken of the white rose in my garden. Too beautiful to pick, but a picture will preserve it forever.

The basement is pretty much done. I did say the hubby tends to go full steam ahead with projects, didn’t I? The guy that was taking away our old furniture came sooner than we thought he would, so the old furniture and carpet got toted away. Good riddance!

The hubby had already started the floor, doing it in sections. First he’d treat the cement with this special stuff to get rid of any residual smell/bacteria, then he laid down this stuff called Dricore, which has moisture barrier on one side and pressboard on the other, and on top of that he laid a woodgrain laminate flooring. He finished this on the weekend.

Then yesterday we drove up to Peterborough to look at new furniture for it. He fell in love with a reclining love seat in one of the local stores, but for the main seating he had his heart set on a sectional sofa to replace the sofa and love seat we had to get rid of. Unfortunately, the way they’re making sectionals these days (with a lounge on one end) it just wouldn’t work in the space we have.

The good news is, we found a sofa and love seat that we both liked that will fit perfectly. The bad news is it’ll take 6 to 8 weeks to be delivered. *sigh*

In other news . . . I walked down to the waterfront to meet with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. We had a lot of catching up to do and it was nice to do it while sitting in the shade and enjoying the view.

The following night I was down there again, this time to meet up with my poetry group. I’m sure we made a curious sight, sitting in a circle in the dark, flashlights going on and off as we took turns reading.

All that was missing was a camp fire and s’mores.

Sep 21, 2020

Myosis Monday

myosis ~ excessive contraction of the pupil of the eye

The hubby and I have officially lost our minds. But on the other hand, at least I won’t be lacking for something to talk about on my blog for the foreseeable future.

Our kitchen is small and lacking in counter/storage space, and we’ve been talking for a long time about how some day we’d have something done to fix it. Well, that some day is now. We met with a designer at Home Depot who is unable to use a shoehorn to give us more space in the kitchen, but he did have some good ideas of what/where new cupboards will work to make it more efficient.

I guess I’ve been watching too much HGTV because when I hear “kitchen reno” I think they’re going to do it all – design it, rip out the old cupboards, do the walls, put up the new cupboards. But that is not how it works, apparently. What the designer does is help you pick out the cupboards that will work in the space you have, and order them for you (as well as the countertops and any appliances you may need). Then he’ll put you in touch with the contractor to install them.

I was prepared for having to empty out all the junk from the old cupboards, in fact I’ve been looking forward to it because I figure I’ll be able to get rid of a lot of stuff we don’t use. That alone will help with the storage issue. But I didn’t figure on having to rip the old cupboards/counters out ourselves.

And we were already planning on redoing the flooring in the kitchen, which has to wait until the old cupboards are ripped out, but it never occurred to me we’d have to deal with the walls ourselves too. The old paper has to be stripped off and the walls sanded and repainted before the new cupboards can go up. Which begs the question, just how long are we going to be without cupboards??

The fridge and stove are staying where they are, but the dishwasher is being moved and the sink replaced – also something we need to take care of ourselves. The new cupboards have to be installed before the countertops, but at least the installation for the counters is included in the price of the stone.

But . . . while we’re waiting for the cupboards and counters to arrive, the hubby decided it’s time to do something about our damp, smelly, barely used basement. Which is not going to be nearly the job the kitchen is and it’s something he can do himself.

He started with ripping up the old, disgusting carpet and he’s made arrangements for someone to come and take the furniture away. The cats spent many years having a spraying war down there, so you can imagine what it smells like, despite our efforts at controlling it.

So one of the things hubby is doing is using this special stuff on the cement to kill the odor/bacteria, then he’s installing a special subfloor with vinyl flooring on top of that. The finishing touch will be new furniture.

Once the hubby sinks his teeth into a project it’s full steam ahead until it’s done – he should have the rec room done in no time at all. The kitchen however . . . well, that’s a whole other kettle of fish.

Sep 14, 2020

Multisulcate Monday

multisulcate ~ many-furrowed

I don’t know about your garden, but mine has been pretty much a bust this year.

The beans did okay at first, but then they kind of petered out quickly. But then the weirdest thing happened. The bush beans at the front of my garden suddenly decided they were pole beans and proceeded to grow over top of the carrots, wax beans, and peas to get to the fence. And then they started producing more beans, which I didn’t catch in time so I’m letting them go to seed to plant next year.

The peas were disappointing. For all the plants we had, they didn’t produce much. I think I picked them only two or three times. And the carrots are no bigger now than they were a month ago and that’s my fault. They’re sandwiched in between the two rows of beans so I don’t think they got enough light. I’ve pulled the beans from the front row off them as much as I can but I suspect it’s too late for them to do anything.

The tomates didn’t do well at all. The cherry tomatoes on the deck weren’t bad, not great, but not bad – certainly not the bumper crop we had last year. As for the beefsteaks and Brandywines . . . well, we got a few on each plant, but they were small and what didn’t rot on the vine the bugs and squirrels got to.

Out of five pumpkin vines I got 2 small pie pumpkins. I think combined that might be enough for 1 pie. The beets looked like they were doing okay, but they’re really small. And the peppers? Well, they got off to a slow start and I’ve had a couple of respectable looking banana peppers, and one small bell pepper the colour of eggplant. There are still a few struggling, so hopefully they’re not done yet.

On the other side of the yard, the neighbour’s pole beans growing up our fence did okay. I’ve picked from my side of the fence a few times, but never more than enough for supper. And although her butternut squash took over my rose garden, I’ll have four squash for my trouble, two of which are in good enough shape to actually use. LOL

The rest of her garden was as iffy as mine, and she spends a lot more time and energy on it than I do. From what I gather, a lot of other home gardeners didn’t do so well either.

Makes you wonder what the price of food is going to be like this winter, doesn’t it?

Sep 7, 2020

Mofussil Monday

mofussil ~ provincial; rural

You know, I always thought allergy season was in the spring when everything started blooming, and I thought allergies were for other people not me. But I was wrong on both counts.

If you suffer from allergies, you can suffer all year ‘round (as you probably already know). The worst part is, it doesn’t matter if you’re indoors or out, there’s just no escaping it.

Winter’s the time for dust and mold allergies, and let’s not forget pet dander. The spring is when you’ll see more of the tree pollen allergies, as well as flowers and grass. Summer’s okay as far as pollen allergies, but this is when you need to watch out for fungus spores and mold. And fall is when we have the dreaded ragweed, goldenrod, and other pollen producing weed allergies.

So what brought on this sudden interest in allergies? Well, for the last few years I’ve been suffering from a lot of sinus infections and when I finally got to see a specialist about it he told me it was just allergies. His advice was to take a 24 hour allergy pill before bed at night, changing brands every month or two so I don’t get too used to one kind. After a while they tend to lose their efficiency.

So I did, and what do you know? It worked. I didn’t have one sinus cold this winter.

And then I happened to catch an episode of Mutant Weather on Cottage Life and it talked about how because the earth’s temperature is rising, it’s creating longer growing seasons, which in turn extends the pollen seasons. Global warming is also responsible for the increasingly strong winds we’ve been experiencing over the last few years. These winds increase the range of the pollen and the length of time it stays in the air.

Believe it or not, most people have a genetic predisposition to develop a variety of common allergies that can occur at any age. But usually this occurs when you’ve been exposed repeatedly to a particular allergen, or when you move to an area with a plant or tree pollen you’ve never been exposed to before. My next door neighbour came over from England and found out he was allergic to ragweed, which he’d never been exposed to before.

So now you know. If you’ve been sneezing and sniffling more than usual, you’ve probably developed an allergy. But check with your doctor to be sure.

Aug 31, 2020

Malar Monday

malar ~ of, like or pertaining to the cheek

It’s hard to believe summer is almost over, isn’t? It seems like it just barely started and now it’s all but gone.

Now we’re headed into that narrow window of time where it’s still bright and sunny and green, but it’s cool enough for long pants and maybe a sweater. The time of year that never lasts long enough and makes me wish we had a fireplace.

It’s Sunday as I’m typing this, and I’m sitting out on the deck in leggings and a tee-shirt. And I’m actually feeling a little chilly, which is a nice break from hot and sweaty. I think the temperature is supposed to climb again this week, but not as high as the extreme temperatures we were experiencing. Kind of makes you wonder what’s in store for us this winter – mild or extreme?

We had a lot of rain last week, but that didn’t stop the youth bowlers (and their parents) from collecting in our back yard for the end of season bowling banquet. Bowling season came to a rather abrupt end with the Covid lock down so the kids never got their banquet or awards. They (those who run the kids bowling) had planned on having it at the park down at the waterfront, but someone made the mistake of asking the parks department first. Apparently, if they’d just gone ahead and done it there wouldn’t have been a problem. But because they asked first, there was all kinds of paperwork to fill out, plus insurance to buy, etc., etc.

Since the hubby has always been involved in the kids bowling, and we have that big, beautiful back yard, he volunteered (or maybe he was volun-told) to have it here. They took as many precautions as possible – cans of pop instead of cups, individual bags of chips instead of bowls, and the pizza was served by one person wearing gloves. All very socially acceptable.

The weather also didn’t keep my poetry group from meeting in the covered picnic area down by the beach Thursday night. There was a nice breeze coming off the lake to keep things cool, and one of the poets had the foresight to bring a battery operated lantern. Another sign summer’s over – the sun is starting to set earlier.

We’ll probably get to meet there again next month, but I think October will be problematic. I like poetry as much as the next guy, but somehow I don’t see myself wrapped in a blanket, huddled around a lantern for the sake of poetry.

I wonder how long it’ll be before we make the switch from complaining about the heat to complaining about the cold?

Aug 24, 2020

Monostichous Monday

monostichous ~ in one line; in one row

Once there was a fish and his name was Tiddler
He wasn’t much to look at with his plain grey scales
But Tiddler was a fish with a big imagination
He blew small bubbles and he told tale tales

That quote is taken from one of my favourite books I used to read to my granddaughter, Tiddler, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. I’ve read it so often I can probably still recite most of it by heart.

Actually, there are a whole series of books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, but Tiddler remained our favourite. So much so that the granddaughter was desperate for a fish of her own, so being the doting Gramie I am, we went out and bought one. Blue being her favourite colour, she picked a blue Betta fish who lived at Gramie’s house so Gramie could take care of him for her.

Tiddler was not my first Betta. My first was multicoloured and named Merlin. Merlin lived in a large, glass jar with a plant sticking up out of it, which is not a proper environment for a Betta. In my defense, I didn’t know that at the time. The jar and plant were sold together for that purpose as a marketing ploy.

Bettas need a proper size aquarium, filtered water, and a heater. Some gravel in the bottom of the tank and a few plants to look at couldn’t hurt either. All of which Tiddler had. This could be why he lived for 2 ½ years and Merlin only lasted 1.

Yes, sadly Tiddler has passed away to the big fish pond in the sky. He was doing laps in his tank one morning last week (as he often did) and then ended up nose down in his favourite plant, pretending to be a leaf (which I’ve never seen him do before). At the end of the day he was still nose down and he was starting to lose his colour.

He was buried according to the super ancient and special fish death ritual – in other words, I wrapped him up in a maple leaf and buried him in the pond garden with a seashell to mark his grave.

R.I.P. Tiddler

Aug 10, 2020

Metaphrase Monday

metaphrase ~ turning of prose into verse or vice versa

The big excitement last week was buying a new mattress cover. I know, exciting stuff right? Wait until you hear the whole story.

The salesman said I’d want to run it through the washing machine before I used it, which only made sense, but then he asked if there was a plain spin cycle on the washer because it might need to be spun a couple of times.

What he meant to say was, if you don’t have a cycle that spins only instead of rinsing and spinning, you’re screwed. Also, you might want to unzip it and wash the padded part separately from the protective layer.

In my defense, I didn’t look at the picture that closely, so I didn’t realize it had a zipper and didn’t figure it out until after I’d washed it and took it out of the washer, giving myself a bath in the process. The padded part had spun dry(ish) but the smooth protective layer had not. And also in my defense, I read the washing instructions and it just said wash in warm water and dry on low heat, nothing about separating layers. In retrospect, that's probably why it separates.

So, not having a clothes line, I hung the padded part over the upstairs railing and left the sopping protective layer in the washer to attempt to spin some of that excess water out. It took me about three tries to get the setting right so it didn’t add water, but at last I got it to just spin. Twice.

The result was still a little too wet to hang over the rail, so seeing as it was sunny out and breezy, I cleaned up four of the chairs on the patio and hung it over the back of them to dry au naturelle. The protector was fitted and fit right over the backs of the chairs. Just to be sure it didn’t blow away I also attached clips to the backs of the chair to keep it in place. It billowed like the sails on a schooner, but it was dry in no time.

I tell you, it's just more excitement than we can handle around here!

Aug 3, 2020

Muniment Monday

muniment ~ means of defence; record fortifying or proving a claim

Once again it was a quiet week last week. And I didn’t even have a trip to Costco to liven things up. I did, however, start a list of things we forgot to buy at Costco. LOL

We had just enough rain last week to make my garden happy. The peas are pretty much done, as are the green beans, and the yellow beans might need to be picked once more. However, the green beans my neighbour is growing on the fence are just starting, which is good timing because I’m not going to get buried in green beans.

I have no idea how the carrots are doing, other than they probably need to be thinned badly. They’re hidden under the beans and I’m leery about getting overly-friendly with the bean plants. The last couple of times I picked them my arms started stinging.

My beets are hanging in there, but they’re growing really slowly. I was able to pick enough small ones to feed the granddaughter and I when she was here for supper, but we were really splitting a single serving.

I have two teeny tiny little peppers forming, so I’m crossing my fingers for more. And I have two pumpkins in my pumpkin patch. But the plants are still blooming so I’m hoping for more.

The neighbour’s butternut squash are trying to take over my rose garden, and so far I have two nicely formed squash making it all worth while. Last year she had quite the bumper crop so we’ll have to see what this year brings.

In the insect world . . . The hubby and granddaughter found this bug a few weeks ago, and were curious about what kind of bug it was.

Looks like some kind of caterpillar, don’t you think? I did a Google search for caterpillars with that colouring, but came up empty. Then I changed the search to “long black bugs with orange on them” and to my surprise I immediately came up with a hit.

Turns out it’s the larvae form of the Asian lady beetle. So when it grows up it’s going to be a Ladybug – I didn’t even know they had a larvae stage.

Unlike the Japanese Beetles, Ladybugs are welcome in my garden any time.

Jul 27, 2020

Macies Monday

macies ~ atrophy, emaciation

Yawn. I have to say, there’s nothing much exciting going on here. The highlight of the week was the quick trip the hubby and I took to Costco on Wednesday. And because things were a little more open than they’ve been, we also hit the Peterborough Mall and Chapters. But even with those additional stops I think that was the quickest shopping trip we’ve ever made (pre-COVID).

There were a lot of people in the mall and Chapters not wearing masks, which really surprised me. Chapters had someone standing at the door making sure we used their hand sanitizer, which annoyed me at first but then I saw the sense of it, seeing as customers would be handling their books. It was almost comforting to get to Costco where if you don’t have a mask they give you one.

I still don’t like wearing masks, but when I am I want to see others wearing them too.

We’ve had a cardinal visiting our back yard from time to time, and a few other interesting birds, so I finally broke down and filled the feeder. And then I spent the day watching the grackles systematically empty it out. *sigh* At least it wasn’t the squirrels this time.

And I learned something interesting about blue jays. I put peanuts out for them on the rail of the deck if it’s not too breezy, and on the patio table if it is. When the grandbaby is over I let her do it because she’ll call out to them, telling them to come get their peanuts, and they do. They’re pretty smart birds because they even figured out where she lives (not too far from us) and followed her home to squawk for peanuts at her house too.

But I digress.

I was in my office and I watched out the window as a blue jay took his sweet time picking out just the right peanut from the patio table, and then hopped over to one of the planters we have surrounding the patio. I thought he was going to use the edge of the planter to break open the peanut but no, he buried his peanut in the planter!

Here I thought the squirrels were responsible for the peanuts we find in various gardens and planters. Looks like they’re not the only ones who like to stash food for a rainy day.

Speaking of rainy days . . . We haven’t had too many of them lately, and we’re under water restrictions now. But the hubby faithfully waters the gardens every other day, which is a good thing because they need all the help they can get. Especially now that we have visitors of the insect kind.

These are Japanese beetles, and you see them here doing what they do best – defoliating plants. I don’t have them as bad as my neighbour does, but it’s still a little annoying to have all your hard work end up in a bug’s stomach. So far it’s just the leaves, not the actual produce they’re attacking. And we’re still getting plenty of peas and beans.

But touch my tomatoes and it’ll mean war!

Jul 20, 2020

Mundify Monday

mundify ~ to cleanse; to purify; to heal

The beans and peas are loving the heat wave we’ve been having, the tomatoes . . . not so much. The tomatoes in the garden are getting flowers, but then the flowers dry up and fall off. I have one beefsteak tomato starting, but so far the heritage Brandywines have nothing but dead flowers.

The peppers are still alive, and a couple of them are thinking about getting blossoms, but so far not much action with them. The beets are doing well, and so far I have just one pumpkin starting. All those blossoms and most of them just fall off (or get nibbled off by a forest creature) without the fruit starting below it. The carrots need to be thinned . . . if I could get at them. They’re sandwiched in between the rows of beans so you can’t even see them.

I’ve had to pick beans a couple of times already, and the peas once. That green thing outside of the basket is from my neighbor’s garden. It’s supposed to be an acorn squash but it looks more like a weird shaped zucchini to me. Guess I’ll find out what it is when I cut it apart to spiralize. Zucchini or squash, either way it’s going to end up as noodles for spaghetti.

The tomatoes on the deck, however, are starting to show promise. I have a few cherry tomatoes and several beefsteaks that I’m babying along.

Not only does the deck get more shade, it’s right off the house so the squirrels and chipmunks aren’t as apt to bother the plants on it. But if these plants live up to their promise, I’m skipping the other garden centers next year and going straight to Walmart for my plants.

The last couple of years we planted our own seeds for the cherry tomatoes but this year my neighbour gave us some she’d started inside. They’re doing okay, but they’re not as prolific as the ones we’ve had before. It could be the excessive heat, or it could just be the seeds she used. I’m very pleased with the beefsteak tomatoes though, especially since the brandywines she gave us aren’t doing well. But then neither are hers.

She has a huge garden and not only are her tomatoes not doing much (yet), neither are her beans. Usually by this time of the summer she’s at our door once or twice a week with beans and cucumbers to share. This year the only thing that’s doing well for her is the leaf lettuce and cabbage (which is also quite yummy). In fact, this year I got to share my beans with her.

You just never know what will do well in a garden.

Jul 13, 2020

Misoclere Monday

misoclere ~ one who hates the clergy

So . . . everybody enjoying Ontario’s heat wave?

I have to chuckle when the weather network goes on about our hot dry spell – dry my butt! The humidity is so thick you could grab a fist full of air and wring it out. One evening I thought there was a fog rolling in, but no, it was condensation on the windows because it was so humid outside and cool inside. A reversal of what happens in the winter when I have a pot of boiling water on the stove.

And then the weather experts went crazy warning us about severe thunderstorms and major rainfall starting Friday and extending through the weekend. Well, maybe the rest of Southern Ontario was hit with flooding and power outages and tornado-force winds, but my little town has a magic umbrella protecting it. We had maybe a thimble-full of rain, and not even a whisper of thunder.

Continuing last week’s saga of my Amish Friendship bread . . . The thing about the Amish starter is that it gets real old, real fast. At first it’s a novelty – squishing the bag, adding the flour, milk, and sugar every few days – but then you have to find someone to share it with and people start to duck for cover when they see you coming.

So when the latest batch was ready to split off, I decided to just use it up making bread:

Starting at the front left we have pistachio almond mini loaves and a regular loaf, and the same of butterscotch to the right. The second row has two loaves of chocolate on the left, with spiced almond on the right. The back row is two loaves of pistachio almond that did not work out. In order to save time I tried baking them in the toaster oven while a different batch baked in the regular oven. Unfortunately, the temperature of the toaster oven can be kind of iffy. They looked done when I took them out, and I didn’t test them. Instead I went babysitting and when I came home they’d collapsed.

Oh, well. I think I have enough Friendship Bread to last a while without them.

Jul 6, 2020

Megameter Monday

megameter ~ instrument for determining longitude by observing stars

When the grandbaby was over for a swim on the weekend, she showed off her toenails which had been painted a sea-green. So yesterday I thought “why not?” and pulled out my various bottles of nail polish. After much deliberation I chose a bright red and proceeded to paint my toenails . . . and part of my toes.

To be fair, the nail polish was a little on the drippy side, but I honestly can’t remember ever making such a mess of nail polish before. I did manage to clean it up enough that it didn’t look like I dipped my toes in blood, but it took some doing. Guess I’m a little out of practice.

I now understand where the expression “it’s muggy outside” came from. It’s an accurate description of hot, humid weather. You step outside and it feels like you’ve been mugged. We had a heat warning in effect all of last week and it’s continuing on into this week too. I have now fully embraced the whole ‘close up the windows and turn on the central air’. Even when there’s not a lot of difference in the temperature, there’s a huge difference in the humidity.

It’s a good think my gardens are pretty low maintenance, I haven’t had to brave the heat to do much to them. But the beans, peas, and tomatoes all have blossoms on them, so pretty soon I’ll have to be getting out there with my basket to pick beans.

Meanwhile, this year’s bumper crop from my neighbour has been leaf lettuce. Every few days there’s a knock on my door and another bag of lettuce is handed over. It’s really good lettuce too, and perfect for wraps.

Speaking of sharing, the daughter had some Amish Friendship Bread starter that she shared with me a few weeks ago. I dutifully did the mushing and the adding, and at the appropriate time I divided it. And then I figured, why not give the recipients a taste of what they’ll end up with and made three mini loaves to include with the starter and instructions when I passed it along.

Well, serves me right for not reading the instructions. One of the ingredients was pudding mix, which I don’t keep in my cupboard. So halfway through mixing the dough it was off to the store I went, stood in line to get in, stood in line to check out, then came home and finished my bread. Oh, the things we do to get rid of that Amish starter. LOL

Yesterday morning I decided to have my morning coffee out on the deck. It was already starting to warm up, but the neighbourhood was quiet and I could hear the bells from one of the churches playing hymns.

What a peaceful start to the week – I hope it keeps up.

Jun 29, 2020

Megameter Monday

megameter ~ instrument for determining longitude by observing stars

A few weeks ago I posted a picture I’d taken last year of one of the neighbourhood foxes and lamented about not seeing the foxes much anymore. Well, I may not see them in our backyard, but that doesn’t mean they’re not still in the neighbourhood.

One evening around suppertime, I saw this little guy and his mother just up the crescent:

His mother disappeared into a culvert as soon as she saw me coming, but this little guy stayed around to have a chat. They make the weirdest noises! He actually posed for several pictures before getting bored. He trotted up the driveway he was sitting on and disappeared into a back yard.

I think the people in that house are putting food out for them – and if they are it’s a very misguided kindness. While I appreciate being able to get close enough to almost touch him, not everyone looks on the foxes kindly. It’s never a good idea for wildlife to become too trusting of humans.

That being said, I would totally put food out for the wildlife if I lived further out in the country where people are fewer and further between. :-)

It’s kind of ironic that I’ve always lived right on the edge of town but it’s only been since the area’s started to build up that we’re seeing more wildlife. We never saw foxes or coyotes when I was a kid and we had woods and fields all around us. We didn’t even have raccoons or rabbits raiding my mother’s substantial garden (more than half an acre).

Now there’s only one small patch of woods that’s being protected, and the fields have been ploughed under for subdivisions.

In other news . . . I freaked myself out yesterday when I thought I’d lost the bookmarks icon off my browser’s menu bar. I’d bookmarked a couple of my favourite “match 3” games so I wouldn’t have to keep scrolling through the entire page, and next thing I knew my bookmarks were missing from the menu bar. I could add bookmarks, I just couldn’t access my bookmark list.

The ones I have sitting on the menu bar, the ones I use most frequently, were still there, but the rest of them were gone. And worse, I had no idea how to get them back. I cautiously checked a couple of settings in my browser but didn’t want to make things worse. Then I just happened to notice a folder where there wasn’t a folder before.

I don’t know what I clicked on or how I did it, but somehow I moved my bookmarks folder from the right side of the menu bar to the left.

Man, I tell you. Some days it just isn’t worth chewing through the restraints!

Jun 22, 2020

Multifid Monday

multifid ~ having many divisions

Well, I don’t know how things are going where you are, but in my neck of the woods things are cautiously starting to open up again. In fact, we’ve even had a few visits from the grandbaby. Guess who the first one into the pool was this year?

FYI The temperature of the water was only 76F. :-)

The circumstances of our visits weren’t the best, however. My son-in-law’s mother was very sick and Thursday night she passed away. No, it wasn’t from COVID-19, it was cancer. The really sad part was that she was in a seniors residence which meant she was on lock-down and the S-I-L was unable to help her out or even visit her for the last several weeks.

As I said, we’ve had a couple of visits with the grandbaby while her parents were off doing the things that needed to be done. She’s cuter than ever – still has a band of imaginary friends and she’s even smarter than she was three months ago. She’s colouring inside the lines now and had no trouble figuring out how our new fan worked. LOL

I finally got the rest of the plants for my garden and everything is doing well. I think I’m going to have to try my hand at pickling beets this year – I’m going to have a bumper crop. I’ve heard you can pickle string beans too, which might be interesting. Of course I’ll have to find the wherewithal to do so first.

I finally broke down and turned on the central air yesterday. It’s not that I have anything against being cool, it’s just I hate having to close all the windows. But when I was starting to feel overheated by mid-morning and I wasn’t even being all that active, it was time to turn on the A/C.

We’ve never had central air before, but it was part of the new furnace we had installed in January. It wasn’t hard to figure out how to flip it from heat to cold, but it did take some adjusting to find the right temperature.

When we used the window unit in the dining room we had it set it for about 68F. With the furnace I started out at 70F, and then inched it up to about 75F. I like it cool, but not too cold. I think the problem is that it’s a little warmer in the hallway where the thermostat is than the rest of the house.

Oh, well. I’m sure I’ll get it right eventually.

Jun 8, 2020

Monochroic Monday

monochroic ~ of one colour

I don’t know about the weather where you are, but here in Southern Ontario it’s been up and down like a yo-yo. In the space of a couple of days we from “should I wear a winter coat or a spring coat” to “how little clothing can I legally get away with,” and as soon as I changed my closet over to summer clothes it got cool again. Every day’s a new adventure – warm or cold? windy or calm? dry or drizzly?

I did get my vegetable garden planted, and for the first couple of weeks it looked like this:

Then we got a whole day and night of steady rain and suddenly it looked like this:

Okay, this picture was taken like a week later, but you could almost see the seeds spouting in the rain. It was crazy.

For those of you curious about such things, the garden in the front has green beans, carrots, yellow beans, and peas. The garden at the back has the tomatoes my neighbour started for me (and who are NOT happy to be outside), beets, and pumpkins. I still haven’t found any pepper plants so there’s also a bare patch in there.

We were very happy that most of the plants in the pond garden came back up this year, and the plants along the back fence.

And we have a new addition to Kelsey Park:

Years ago I painted this horse for my father-in-law for the cottage, and when they sold the cottage it came back to me. The colours were not my choice and I fully intend to re-paint it when we bring it back in, but that will be a project for the winter.