Thursday, February 15, 2024

chopping water and hauling wood

We belong to the order of monks that chop water and haul wood, ( instead of the other way around) and as my husband said this morning, thanks for loading the fire, we load the fire. 

Last weekend i visited such monks in their cabin along the river.  They said their 250 gallon  tank last 4 weeks. It looks the size of our hauling tank, which is 250 gallon. ( our indoor tank is 1500 liter, 420 gallon)  (it is all a bit weird i guess, gallons/liters, we use gallons when it comes to water, but we buy gasoline by the liter, whatever.)

Anyway i was surprised, Don and i get  the same amount of water at least every ten days, so we can do better then that right?

Now i am not going to give up on my bath, which i probably take once every ten days. (and i probably have one shower in that amount of days)

 Yet I can learn something from them when it comes to water use! and at the end of this post, i tell you how i did!

But first the chopping water part. Yes yesterday we had to chop. Not always:) and we do not actually use that term. We do haul wood , every morning, a tabagon full. and we do load the fire, several times a day. 

For our drinking water we go to Stony Creek. And ten days ago there was lots of open water. and as for my polar dip practice it is hard now to find open water, so i was going to dip in Stony Creek while we get water. Not so!

 Another monk was standing at the creek when we arrived.

Tt hasn't been that cold lately but the creek was  frozen over  quite solid, the regular hole  that is being kept open by all who 'chop' water here was 3 feet deep and in the bottom a film of ice and only half a foot of water underneath that. Normally we dip our blue jugs in at least 2 feet of water. Talking to the other monk, who brought blue jugs, a dipper, but no axe. Yes, we have an axe! He admired our axe,  i did not know it was special. Don says it has an ox-head blade, and came from Germany! i never knew.  So we, Junior and I take turns chopping, but really it is not going to work  we will be chopping for an hour to make the hole wide enough for the blue jug, and the water level being so low.Also filling the blue jug with your dipper is...a lot of work.

Junior walks a ways up creek, i follow, he finds another hole, which is much better, in no time we have a hole in the ice that we can dip our blue jugs into a foot of water, good enough. I fill the jugs ( half due to low water level ) and he makes full jugs, by pouring one in the other.

But this post is about doing dishes! now i do dishes twice a day (we cook 3 meals a day, so we do have quite a bit of dishes. even if we use our same bowl at times. for sure the same cup. I now use 5 liters of water total per day to do dishes, and with that i even have enough to clean the counters and stove top.

No dishwasher needed, which saves me in space and energy. In winter our hot water comes from the woodstove.  250 ways to do the dishes i like to say when it comes to different opinions about anything. So now i do dishes this way:  my dishes are pre-rinsed and wiped clean during the day, with handwashing water, vegetable rinse water, whatever water that ends up in the sink.  when times comes to do the dishes, i take two small bowls of hot water, one soapy, one not. I fill one sink with the wiped but still ditry dishes, the bowls sit on the counter. I dip my cloth in the hot soapy water and wash above the dirty dishes. Rinsing: then i pour some clear hot waterover the dish above the soapy bowl.  And really! clean dishes, with a little more vigilance are the result!

Thursday, February 8, 2024


 Of course i like the word 'niksen'. A dutch word, meaning; doing nothing.

I like i because i would say 'niksen' is a very environmentally friendly activity. No energy or resource being used.

The word 'niksen' has been popping up, and as i have grown up in the netherlands, friends here in Canada will send me articles.

Note i am no expert on anything dutch, I  grew up there, but are more of a Mendenhalite  (lived for almost 30 years in the mendenhall subdivision.) and i have learned not to generalize behavior.

My experience with niksen, is just that, 'my' experience. Not even my brother's ( I will ask him).

Yes, i grew up with the word. Despite my  slightly calvinistic upbringing, niksen  was  somewhat allowed. For sure, niksen was done on a regular base.  If I had to do my home work, or housework, it was ok to be found doing nothing, but ' you better get on with it attidtude was expressed.

I think it was most allowed for old people,

I suppose even my 'oma' was never truly doing 'niksen' she would be sitting  seemingly doing nothing, but she would be sitting on a handkerchief to iron it, not having to use an iron.

Also what comes to mind  is what the word is not; 

to me it is not meditating ( yet it occurs to me that is the best form of meditation, because  you truely do nothing, no judgements .

it is not  sitting perse,  not enjoying, it is not sulking, it is not relaxing.

To me it is more to be in limbo.  but to be ok with that, not frantically trying to figure out what to do next.

I wonder what your experience is with this word, do you have a Dutch background, or have you read about it?

I am glad that i grew up with it. As I am waiting for daylight, i will do a bit of it after i post this, and know from now on i will miss the morning darkness which is soon to be over for next half year.

haha Don is calling me for a game of trionimos

Saturday, February 3, 2024

back away, record and report

 hmm, yes i agree but maybe we should add that as in the schoolyard... we should have a common understanding that bullying is not acceptable.

Yesterday i had a n interesting experience. I felt that i was drawn into an argument... do note that i always admit to the fact that i am a somewhat argumentive person. Not always knowing when it is a fair debate or when i just contradict what you say.

I backed off, and while working in the yard cleaning up branches from a fallen tree. a job i love. my mind kept going back to the email in which i felt, this is only going to be an argument. I had not emailed back right away. AIn the yard my mind also wanders to wars in the world. 

When backing away does the other person think  he was right in his/her statements? I wondered.

On the radio now, another such story, hockey Canada and charges being laid. 

As a people we have to establish that violence of any kind is not acceptable. yes?

Already this morning my story had a very happy ending.  Last night i did send an email, I backed away from the argument, but  kept the conversation going in a more desired direction. The response i got was  lovely, kind, glorious really Me here humbled and grateful for good friends who get it.

I will write my MP again, that at least Canada is not supporting retalliations.

I hold all my heart to see which bully in the world is backing away and  pray for both coming out  as loving after all.

Something like that.

peace to you all!

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

a sunlit snow shower

 This afternoon  I found myself walking downhill straight  into the sun,  while above the sun there was a dark snow cloud. And yes it snowed, and the snowflakes where lit up by the sun.  With the dark cloud behind it this created a beautiful sight. I do not think i have seen this before.

Is that the way to go?  When there are dark clouds focus on something that enhances beauty.

The other day i spoke with friends who live a simple life like i do, they where fussing over their power bill. But i was all happy that they had a powerbill like mine, very low.  When i complemented them on that,  and said this should be possible for many more people shouldn't it, to my surprise they took side of the higher end consumer... I have come upon this before. i wonder what i say 'wrong'. Or what i say that makes people defend spending. 

How often do you wash your clothes?

How often do you shower?

Do you have a  clothes dryer, or instead of  running a humidifyer you dry your clothes in the house?

Do you wash every kitchen item after single use?

I am sure there are many more ways to use a little less electricity

 What do you do to use a little less electricity? and what i hope that you actually have more time for leisure, going for walks...or?

What did you see on your last walk that was  quite lovely?

Thursday, January 25, 2024

We all try our best

 We all do the best we can.  I am convinced of that and i have to remind myself of that when i see.... stupidity.

When i grew up you brought your own shopping bag, big leap forward, now these day here in town, one time use plastic groccery bags are banned. Many of the stores are selling us a sturdy groccery bag, the ones you can reuse, for us who forgot. I remember my friend Cristina saying these things are so bad! Now i see why. because now i am sure the groccery store is selling these sturdy bags, yes many people brng there own , many, but for it to make a difference in the amount of plastic that eventually ends up in the environment. i am sure that we need to do better.  Again i feel a bit deflated, as  it did not make an iota of difference. Like in the seventies when many were trying to not use batteries, we could not have imagined that batteries is now the future. to me that is still very weird. And the light bulb thing, another weird story. 

But please do not mind me encouraging you, that less is more. Don and i our power bill is still around 40 dollars, often we get a rebate for 50 dollars, because apparently power is so expensive. I can honestly tell you we live well  :) considering the circumstances. (the circumstance is that Don is needing care due to aging.)

Homecare came out today, and i went snowshoeing, while they were here. Did i say that i do find it oddly pleasant often this looking after my husband. And also when homecare comes and i shoot out of the door to go snowshoeing, i do find that 'weird'ly exhilirating. 

Supper is ready, toodeloo 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Our little bit does help

 And to me it is huge.

When i bring up the subject of environmentalism, everybody seems to be in on it in their own what they often call little way. Some seem to feel anxious   maybe for  not doing more or  amybe because  of the uselesness of it all and some spring into action right away turning off the lights.

But  to me our little contributions are huge when you put them together. I am not going to look up numbers and put them here for you. But if i turn off one light bulb, ( ha! I just did, with finally the sun coming up, i do not need light to type.)  You probably all heard the story but i think it still stand, if others do it too, than eventually one diesel power generator in whithorse  can be turned of an hour earlier...lets just say, if that hour is mulplied by all cities in Canada.  etc etc.

So i try, i try to make better choices, and no i do not feel shame or anxiety that i do not learn to type blind.

which most of you probably can do and do not even need an extra light when making a blog post.

I try to be aware , at times, not to the point where it becomes overwhelming. This morning Don and I on our morning walk, yes that works for me, It is as much work to get him ready for a walk a it is to get him in the car, so when we go for a walk for us there is just not the time of day to go for a drive anymore. win win right?

And i was asking  here for ideas what i do in the afternoon to meet my own needs. The sun is shining and when my polar swim buddy does not phone, i will set a snowshoe trail to a little spring, i feel for the remainder of the winter, i might have to dip into the spring... it is tiny, but maybe no smaller then a bath tub.

photos photos you ask, i know. Yes i am frugal, but mostly i do not like shopping, so my computer will first need  to totally fail  ( not just the uploading of photos) before i  go get a new (refurbished) one, and up to that day i will rather spend  my energy to keep it working.

Monday, January 15, 2024


 I just read a funny facebook post from my closest neighbour. 

copy and paste: Stay warm folks! It was - 40°C today but it's getting warmer already, at -30°C. It's tropical

 I think we crazies here all love that joke.  It is always so true, after a cold spell, which did not last very long this time, when you poke your nose out of the door unaware that the temperature has rocketed up, I am like; wow, I can go out in a t-shirt. which then when trying that out is not true, but that is how it feels.

So yes Canada ( i don't know the rest of the world?) i think still has  lots of cold places, but not here. My brother in Southren Alberta has quite a spell of what i used to call Yukon weather; bright sunny, still days, stark blue skies. hmmmm not so much here this winter. I am not complaining though. And this last cold spell lasting so short, i do find that unusual, often in my experience the cold  would stick around a bit longer then the weather people predict. 

So yes lets look after this wonderful planet we have. You might know i do not like the term climate change.  I always feel there should be a term like; it is about time we start living wihtin our means!

I believe there is a sweet spot, where all is  more balanced,  that we live well, but without destroying the earth.  So before i started typing here i turned of several lights in the house. I just need one, and so does my husband. so two lights are on, the computer (obviously), the fridge and the electric hot water tank. I feel that already indicates I have more luxery then i truely need.

I try to always be doing well with less. But still i find it needs constant vigilance, and for me, this trying, maybe i do not perse get joy from it, but it certainly prides me, and  this kind of pride energizes me.

Lately I had a little setback in using fossil fuels. As Don is aging a support worker comes out once a week, driving around 150 km round trip to get to us. We are extremely grateful for their help. But i count it up on our footprint. Now  because my husabnd used to like driving, we do less of that. But it turns out i still feel a need to be out and about most days, and walking everyday just doesn't quite cut it for me, so i go swimming, yes that cold plunge, which now after the cold spell, open water  is going to be some 40 km from here.

I could do the snow dive ( right outside here) but that doesn't quite take me away from the house enough.

Any suggestions are welcome. 

What do you do? And  maybe first; do you have that need to be away from the house, that transport you faster then your own feet can?