Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Is how I would describe our temperatures for the last few days.
And here you thought I was talking about my demeanour?   Only on certain days.

It was "warmer" today,  but of course (of course!) the wind was so furious that it felt like "bitter".   Geeez!

But hey,  it's winter.  And here we are.  We've been warmer.  Glad for central heat is all.

I'm at a bit of a Christmas standstill on the bathroom front.
As I mentioned,  the tub is out.  Took it off to the metal recycling place yesterday.
It only weighed 220?  Seemed heavier.  Whatever.  Got a little cash.  Enough for breakfast.

Normally I don't bother with that whole "going over the scales" thing,  and simply put metal stuff out at the curb.  It magically disappears.  Always.  Dishwashers,  stoves,  you name it.  Even (or maybe especially) my old defunct snow thrower.  
But I was curious,  and there were a few other metal bits that I had been saving up.  Hate to see metal stuff go into the landfill.  It all can be re-used.

Then tomorrow,  it'll be another trip to the "Transfer Station"  (read..."Landfill")  with load number three of renovation stuff.

I'll try and save the boxes if I can.  Sometimes the "helpers" are a little overly helpful.

This is why we didn't get a bin.  No need with the pick-up truck.  Came in handy on Sunday for our annual Christmas Tree foraging expedition as well.  (And THAT was cold,  let me tell ya.)

Not much else going on.  I do have a few more bathroom pics,  but certainly nothing earth shattering.

I'm using cement board for the shower surround.  I have yet to build the third wall.  That'll be after Christmas at this point.
The house is "masonry brick"  construction.  On the other side of that tar paper is a thin layer of parging,  cinder block and brick.  A bit different from "balloon frame" construction that's used these days.  
Um,  it isn't going anywhere.
Unlike our neighbour's house just behind us,  there are no ominous cracks running anywhere.  The downside however is,  the only "insulation" is an air space between the tar paper and the inside wall.
Somehow that doesn't seem...adequate.

So that's the reason I'm putting in foil backed Styrofoam.  Has to help.  That,  and sealing any and all cracks with spray foam does make a difference.  This place was drafty like you wouldn't believe when we first moved here!    New windows made a huge difference,  along with trying to seal up just about any gap I could find with the aforementioned spray foam.  Awesome stuff,  even though a little expensive.

That's about it for today.

It's this or silence.

Thanks for stopping by.

Keep that stick on the ice.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Now what?

As of today   Monday,  I was up to this point.

And of course,  this tub probably weighs more than my tablesaw.  Like,  we're talking...heavy.  This thing is maybe 600lbs?   Don't know.  

Won't ever know.

So, after having a little discussion about getting it out of there,  Travelling Companion put in a request to some sort of  "Junk Removal" place.   There's a "scheduled appointment" for tomorrow some time.  I forget when,  and it doesn't matter,  since they were supposed to contact me at some point to confirm.  Haven't heard a peep.

As of today I was starting to get a little agitated,  since I can't do too darned much except fuss with the drywall on the one bit to the left there,  since I really need this thing out of here.

Tried calling.  Line's busy.  AND,  it turns out there were a couple less than stellar reviews on Yelp.  Hm.  OK then.  Called somebody else.

Or,  chatted with someone else,  as I was looking on a particular website and a chat window popped up in the lower right hand corner.

Now, quite often I either ignore that kind of thing,  or move on or whatever,  but this time around I needed someone to come and take a look.  So I started "chatting" with Alison, or Andrea or whoever the heck it was. 

And so,  this afternoon at the scheduled time,  sure enough a young feller from ANOTHER junk removal place showed up.

You might have figured out by now that,  I was really looking for the easy way out?  Like,  Muggins here didn't want to do any heavy lifting. Period.

Now,  I have to say first of all,  he wasn't all that big.  I mean,  I was expecting a big burly guy.  Junk is usually heavy.  
I mean I know,  little guys can be all "wiry" and strong and shit,  but if you're 98 pounds sopping wet, that doesn't exactly instil a lot of confidence.
I'm just saying.

Anyway,  he took a couple pics,  went out to the truck to call his boss,  and came back in to report that, "they couldn't do it".

Ah.  Youth and exuberance.  Or well,  youth and inexperience.

So,  whereas he was talking about at least four guys and the fact that they don't have any straps,  and that they've had issues before, etc. etc. It turns out that all that was required was,  one old guy and a sledge hammer.

See,  it's cast iron.   Now,  there are a couple different types of cast iron,  and if I had hearkened back to when we had our oil tank removed,  I should have recalled when the owner of the plumbing company put on his overalls,  grabbed a framing hammer,  hopped up on the tank (ya, I'm not kidding)  and gave the inlet pipe a whack.  Whereupon it broke into several pieces.  I can't remember the term he used,  but let's just say,  it was the kind of cast iron that you can break.

I was kind of hoping for the same.

Turns out I got lucky.

And that kids,  is how it's done.

Now,  I'll readily admit that,  THIS IS HARD WORK.  I mean,  I've swung the sledge hammer here and there to drive in the odd stake or whatever, BUT beating on cast iron tends to make you break a sweat.   And even the pieces that were maybe no bigger than the size of a serving tray were HEAVY.  

Anyway,  it's done.  Now I can go on with my shower "prep".   And well,  I still have a whole bunch of tile to remove.   We did have a little "collateral damage",  but I won't go into that here.  
Such fun.

Thanks for lookin'.

Sticks.  Ice.  You know.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Of course you know, this means war.

One of my favourite cartoon characters.

See,  I stepped outside ever so briefly this morning to hang a couple items out to air out,  and it would seem that we gained a visitor.

T.C.  and I were sitting here perusing something or other 'on the line',  when we heard the definite sounds of someone,  or something clanking about in the kitchen.

Here's one of his furry brethren:

Needless to say,  I didn't race off to get the camera,  so you'll have to take my word for it.

Enough of a challenge getting my shoes on.

This is when having "open concept" is not all what it's cracked up to be.  Thankfully,  we're believers in doors.  Door to the kitchen.  Door to the dining room.  Both closed in a hurry.
Next,  go around back and open the back door and herd the little bastard back out.

What I didn't know, after he ran downstairs to escape the old two legged creature with the stick,  was that he had already been downstairs,  up on the window sill trying to escape.  Chewing on our lovely cedar window.

Anyway,  I'll just sand it down to make it look like it's kinda worn or something.  Thankfully he didn't damage the screen,  although it was half ways out.

The kids will think this is hilarious,  as I've had battles in the past with these little furry tailed rats,  but since they can no longer chew on the house,  I've sort of let them be.

Until now.

I'll not divulge any evil thoughts that I might have.  Best to not upset the squeamish.

Meanwhile,  the bathroom reno is progressing slowly.   I'm sort of having to do it piecemeal,  as we seem to be having some issues with a few of the items that we've ordered.   Like March for delivery??
No matter,  as there's plenty to do to keep me busy.

Ever since we moved here,  I've been annoyed by the fact that one of the light switches for the bathroom was out in the hallway. How does that make sense?
So if you happen to go in and forget to turn on the rest of the lights (there are two circuits),  you either need to suit up again,  or hope that nobody's around as you poke your head out to find the switch.

Fixed that.

The other thing was,  there was nothing even remotely like a GFCI in either bathroom when we moved in.  So we did the best we could at the time and piggy backed off another circuit.
You know what I'm talking about, right?

Later,  more or less in desperation,  I piggy backed off of THAT one to add a plug for a garage door opener.   I have to admit,  I had completely forgotten that one,  as there was this "mystery" wire that went down into the garage.  It didn't hit me right away (like,  we're talking a couple days here) but then I had that moment of clarity when I remembered what I had done.    To think I did that without cracking open nary a wall!

This time around though,  we be openin' walls,  and as I had the wall open anyway to put in the box for the heated flooring,  I figured I'd sort out everything I could.

That level is on there to remind me that I need to tweak the box a tad before putting up the drywall.
Not quite level.

So there was a certain amount of hole drilling and wire pulling,  as in total I added three new circuits. Bathroom GFIs,  garage door opener,  and the separate circuit for the heated flooring.   The deal there is,  they recommend a square box with two lengths of conduit,  trimmed out with something called a 'mud ring'.

Ends up looking like this:

Down at floor level,  the two conduits are there for the temperature sensor in one,  and the leads for the power in t'other.

While I was at it, I wanted a little cubby for recharging toothbrushes.

Don't ask.  I get these lame ideas.  And half way through the first stages of finishing off the drywall,  I start to question my sanity.

It'll look better when it's all done.

And that's about the extent of the excitement around here.

Tomorrow I'm thinking the tub wall will be coming down.

Not as easy as it sounds,  trust me.

I'll try to take photos.

Thanks for stopping by.

Keep that stick on the ice.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's kind of like being a toddler.

A couple weeks ago,  I mentioned taking the train out East.
Well see,  that's the conclusion I came to.
You eat,  poop and sleep,  and anytime you try to look out the window,  you haven't a clue where you are.  AND,  getting from one car to another involves a certain amount of staggering.  No wonder they don't want you to bring your own booze.
There's no need.

And yes,  it was an "adventure".

We had done something similar during our last year in Vienna,  when we took an overnight train from Munich to Paris.  There's video footage somewhere looking out the back of the train.
Wait. I found it. Click here.
Anyway,  there was a certain amount of jostling,  and T.C. knew better this time around than wear two part P.J.s,  as she nearly lost the bottom half that first time around.
With the exception of not getting nearly enough sleep,  that was the only slight misgiving we had about taking an overnight train with a sleeper cabin.

Well,  it turns out that, either the cabins on "Deutsche Bahn"  are slightly bigger (and I think they are) or something else is up with my ability to be in a "confined space",  but at about one a.m.  I had to scramble out of my top bunk,  pull on my trousers and shirt,  grab my key,  and get the hell out of there!   Claustrophobia,  with just a soupçon of motion sickness.  Seems I wouldn't do well hot racking it in a submarine.
No sir.
Made my way to the "Wifi car",  and there was a lone employee there,  who enquired as to my well being,  after which she went and got me some ginger ale.  I did feel better after that,  but couldn't for the life of me get back on that top bunk.  T.C. and I did some sort of sardine impression for the rest of the journey.  On the way back,  I simply resolved to sleep on the floor.  Apparently I'm not yet so old and creaky that I can't do that.

Here, T.C. is enquiring about the overnight train from Montreal to Halifax.  Turns out we got to chill in the Business Lounge,  which was quite nice.

We did eat well.  The meals were included,  but the wine or beer was extra.

Somewhere along the way,  in New Brunswick I seem to recall,  there was a fifteen minute stop.  That's when all the smokers went outside.  I haven't smoked since the mid eighties,  but thought I'd go out anyway,  just to stretch my legs.

I have to be mindful that T.C. really doesn't want her picture on the blog,  so I think I can get away with this one.

Oh,  and the other observation about taking the train?  You get to see all the "underpinnings" of all the places you're going through.   That whole,  "wrong side of the tracks" thing.


But,  enough of that.

Had a fine visit.  Got to play with my brother's saw mill.

I tell ya,  if I had a place for one of these things,  it would be hard to resist the temptation.  Helps that he has a barn.
He needed a couple 2 x 4s to put under the firewood in his basement.  These are actual "two by fours", not whatever it is you get at your local lumber yard.

Oh,  and we did take a little jaunt over to Lunenburg.

That's the "Bluenose".  I'm not even going to "go there" with the latest rudder debacle.  Seems stupidity is rampant all over the place.  That's all I'll say.

And on another day,  we took a little jaunt over to Margaretville (or Margaretsville,  depending on which way you get there) just to have a look around.   It's usually foggy in Margaretville,  so this was pretty rare.

Not a whole helluva lot left to see in Margaretville.  There used to be a big wharf and a small wharf.  Now there's just that small one.   Irving oil also had something going on there,  but no more.    The Bay of Fundy can be tough on Wharves,  and they just get beat to pieces.

Anyhoodle,  I'd best get back at it.   Bathroom reno and all.
Mind you ,  I'm taking the time to straighten out some of the wiring I've put in over the years,  and that's a whole other story.

Maybe next time.

Keep that stick on the ice,  and thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

We're off.

Taking the train in the morning to Toronto,  and then on to Montreal and then Halifax.  Should be an "adventure".   We'll see if the VIA trains are as bumpy and shaky as the night train we took from Munich to Paris.  Tough job keeping ones PJs where they're supposed to be in those circumstances.  Don't ask.

Meanwhile,  we've been putting the truck to work.  Picked up the tile for the bathroom on Monday,  which came in conservatively at 1100 pounds,   and then went off to fetch the shower parts on Wednesday.

There's a few more items from Kohler on the way,  such as the WC,  medicine cabinet and vanity.  No idea when that part of the order will be ready.

I got a little impatient and tore down one wall,  but we can still use the bathroom for now.

Used to look like this:

It's bare studs,  as the tile were set on metal lath,  which does a nice job of slicing up your forearm when getting carried out to the truck, by the way.

Note the vise grips on the hot water control.  It's come to this.  And I'm not fixing it.  I've fixed it a couple times over the last several decades,  the first time being long before we ever owned the house.  Which is exactly why when I removed the one piece American Standard WC,  (top of the line in its time) I took great delight in beating it to manageable pieces to be boxed up and disposed of.  
Felt pretty good too.
Couldn't even find parts for that thing,  so we were forever coming up with some sort of Rube Goldberg ways of keeping it in operation.  It's been gone since the 90s.

Anyway,  I'm out.

We'll be back in a week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

I got three years.

And no,  that's not a sentence,  that's a reprieve.

See,  since the early part of 2014,  I've so far had three "visits" involving a certain "procedure",  for which one has to do something referred to as "prep".
Any of you who have had this lovely experience will know exactly what I'm talking about.  It's something everyone should start doing after about the half century mark,  but of course,  I procrastinated just a tad, and then there was that whole European thing,  and I didn't really want to get started on something in Austria.  As it was,  I did have another issue investigated when I was in the Netherlands,  and that diagnosis was somewhat inconclusive.
But that's another story.
And this ain't a "medical" blog,  so that's enough of that.

Anyhoodle,  there's much more than a hint of a family history of colon cancer (Mom had a colostomy,  my Uncle Ernie had a colostomy,  should I go on?)  so needless to say,  these "visits" could be considered somewhat life saving.  At least in my case.

I don't mean to be overly dramatic,  but really,  them polyps can eventually kill ya.
Just saying.

Last Thursday was the day of my "visit",  which was scheduled for eight a.m.   The instructions direct  you to take the second package of that nasty powdered stuff at five,  but (and this is where past experience comes in)  I decided to get up at four and get that started.  It really blows to be feeling somewhat "stressed",  shall we say?  on the way to the procedure,  or looking for a bathroom when you're waiting to go in.
And again,  for anyone who has done this,  I ain't just kidding when I use the term "blows".
Wakka wakka!


Anyway,  the Doc did say he found three little guys,  but depending on the pathology,  I won't need to go back for three years.  Oh ya,  baby!  Under the category of,  "what makes you happy?"   That one's right up there.  That and beating the spread in the football pool,  but hey,  if I suck at making my picks,  ain't gonna kill me.

Meanwhile,   T.C. and I put the truck to use this week,  as we headed in to Toronto to the "Tile District"  for lack of a better term,  to fetch all the tile I'll need for my bathroom reno.
When it became evident that I had a truck,  we were asked to hang out at the warehouse door for a few minutes while they put everything on a skid.

I suppose this is the first time T.C. has ever been with me in a truck when something somewhat heavy is loaded into the back,  since she was ever so slightly wide eyed when I got back in after checking over and signing for the skid.
I did a little quick arithmetic, knowing that each box of tiles weighs at least 50 pounds (52.5 actually) and came up with a conservative load coming in at 1100 pounds.

So needless to say,  the truck did "squat" ever so slightly,  which was just enough to freak out T.C. just a tad.

Initially,  we put it all in the garage,  but over that last day or so,  I've managed to bring it all inside and stack it in the room across from the bathroom where it'll eventually end up.

The only other little job this week was to put in a couple shut offs for the tub,  so that I can isolate the water when I rip it out.

 The shut off with the green handle is for an outside hose bib.

This is an area that is in the garage ceiling,  so it's entirely doable,  but a bit of a tight spot just the same.  You'll notice my "heat shield" up in there.  Burning the house down wouldn't be good.  I also keep a spray bottle of water on hand,  and give the wood a bit of a bath after I'm done.   It wasn't easy getting all the water out of the lines to get the brass up above its "kindling" temperature,  but the valves are in and tucked up out of the way.

We're still waiting on the rest of the components to come in,  which means I'll mostly only be working at taking out the old tile.   We'll use the bathroom for as long as possible,  and then "move" downstairs to the basement.  The bed in that bedroom is the one we had in Vienna,  and I'd dare say it's better than the one we sleep on now,  it being a King size and all.

Stay tuned.

And thanks for stopping by.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Came a knock at the door.

And I immediately think, "Gah,  somebody wanting to sell me something".  And good luck with that,  unless it were say,  Girl Guide cookies?  I'll admit,  I'm a sucker for cookies in general,  and Girl Guide cookies in particular.
You know,  "supporting the cause",  and all?

But NO,  it was my friendly neighbourhood postal delivery Dude,  who leaves the packages next to the front door,  knocks once,  and buggers off.
And that's OK really.  I'd sooner have that happen, than getting a "delivery" from the knobs at Purolator,  who then are obligated to leave a little card,  instructing me to drive half way across town to pick up the package they "couldn't deliver".
And at that point of course,  I have to prove who I am.
What's the point of shopping on line,  if I then have to drive half way across town?

OK,  got that out of my system.

It never ceases to amaze me at just how quickly some items get delivered.  Well,  some others not quite so quickly,  Travelling Companion is still waiting for a pattern she ordered from the States.  Lord only knows where that thing is.  That whole cross border thing is a crap shoot.
But that's not my deal.

There's a bit of a theme going on here:

One of my sisters-in-law sent me a birthday card that was somewhat timely,  as we had not so long ago been "shoe shopping" in Bobcaygeon.

Well,  not me actually.  I looked.  Prices too high.  I left.

Pretty much spot on.

Mind you,  if there's a place to sit down,  I'm good.  Or,  I can wander outside and check out the boat traffic at the lock.  This last visit was Thanksgiving weekend of course,  so there was scarcely a boat in the water. So that back up plan was kind of a bust.

For a time now,  and by that I mean maybe a couple years?  I've been meaning to replace a pair of ageing sandals that I wear just about every day in the warmer weather.  I don't have a picture of them, as I don't want to upset your sensibilities.   They're just nasty.   They do stay on my feet though,  but are so worn,  that "staying on my feet"  on the fore-deck of the boat was getting to be a challenge.

So this (below) is my answer to "shoe shopping".


Amazon.  Forty bucks.

Oh and,  just ignore the nose hair trimmer thing.  That was another thing that wore out and fell apart a few days ago.
In my estimation,  it's an appliance that ranks up there in importance with the coffee maker or the fridge.  No random hairs growing in places where I don't want them for me,  thanks.
That purchase was further precipitated by the sight a couple days ago, of a young man in a bathroom fixtures type of store who was in definite need of a good trim.

Like,  it was all I could look at.

And was the immediate topic of conversation in the car when we left.   The "post visit debriefing",  as I like to call it.

"Did you see that guy's nose hairs?"  

Um. Ya.

Let's move on.

So,  I tried them on.  I mean,  nothing beats trying things on in a sticks and bricks store,  but I'd like to refer you back to photo one.

Because even if it's ME looking for shoes or whatever?  Just not enthusiastic.

And no,  I don't wear sandals with socks.  Oh GAWD no.  
But trust me,  you don't really want to see my toes either.
Not that they're all gnarling or anything,  but men's toes?
Just no.

In other "news",  we're off to Tobermory tomorrow to celebrate the completion of the Bruce Trail by one of our friends.   She and a hiking buddy have by now done most of the 840 kilometre trail,  and are wrapping it up this weekend.
With slightly better weather we hope.  
Just google "Bruce Trail" if you're unsure just what that is.
Now,  this wasn't a thing that they did all at once, (um, we're not kids anymore?)  but has been something they've been doing piecemeal for a couple summers now.
We've all booked rooms to stay for the night,  and will toast their final part of the journey at some point tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon.

I'll take pictures.   I promise.

I think that's all I got in my pea brain for today.  Trying to be a little more "up to date" on the blogging end of things.  Not that there's all that much that's of interest,  but hopefully I can offer a chuckle from time to time.

No more pictures of feet.  And sure as hell no pictures of guys in need of a nose hair trimmer.

Thanks for stopping by.



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ah yes, another birthday.

And you know,  there was really and truly only one birthday that was somewhat disconcerting, shall we say?  And that was some thirty years ago.
I don't know, I guess I had some ideas as to what I thought I should have been doing by then,  and clearly hadn't managed to accomplish that.
Silly bunt.

Meanwhile,  seems when you hit a certain age, (OK fine,  I turned 60 today,  and according to some , "Just a baby")  .... you can look forward to certain discounts.

And that,  Ladies and Gentlemen,  is exactly why Travelling Companion and I will be taking a little train trip out East in a couple weeks.    I'll try and keep y'all posted.
We had been wanting to get out East for some time now,  but had to take a bit of an emergency trip out West back in July,  and that was just enough air travel to make the thought of going most anywhere else by air less than enticing.  That's the best way to put it.
I don't mind the flying part.  Matter of fact,  I love the flying part.  It's the rest of the crap that makes my anal sphincter get all twitchy.  And you know exactly what I'm talking about.

So,  there was talk of taking the train,  but then,  I had to wait until I turned 60 to get that coveted discount.
Plus,  it's been so bloody hot this summer,  that I'm now trying to finish up a few jobs that I really wasn't motivated to tackle in the stifling heat.

Just "stuff" like,  I really need to paint the trim on the shed.  It's coming up on a couple decades old these days,  and looking a little worn.  Stuff like that.

At first blush,  train travel can be heaps more expensive than getting squished into the tiny seat of an airplane.  HOWEVER,  if you apply that wonderful "senior's discount",  and pick certain travel days,  it's actually just about the same price. This revelation is according to T.C.,  who just today was doing a side by side comparison.  AND,  the plane trip would have involved a stop over in Montreal as well.
Sooner take the train.
Don't worry,  I'll take pictures.
It's a "day trip" to Montreal,  and then we have a cabin reserved for the overnight on to Halifax.  Hopefully the trees in New Brunswick will still have their leaves on when we pass through the following morning.   Much more civilised I'd say.

Oh, and there was also something to do with going on certain days.  Like we care.
*pfft* we're retired!

So,   got a gaggle of cards for the birthday.  A few gifts here and there.  Plenty of greetings on the Book of Face and,  although it wasn't planned as a birthday present,   I did coincidentally pick up something last week that did turn out to be a pretty awesome birthday present.

Well,  I certainly couldn't ask for anything more.

Here's a pic:

Not bad, huh?

Sure makes coming up for something for "sixty-one" a bit of a challenge.

After passively shopping for something for neigh on three years now,  we finally pulled the trigger on something.  Very early in my searching,  I discovered that these things are almost like rare comic books.  Hard to find,  unless they're all dog eared and "rode hard and put up wet".

I did go out and lay my hands on a couple,  but nobody wanted to budge on the price,  so I walked away.  And, I had looked at other vehicles,  like the RAV4,  but then I warned T.C. that I'd likely need a trailer.  She wasn't keen.

The fellow that I bought this through did lend me his Tacoma,  which was cute and all,  but it did seem just a wee bit small.  Or something.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  It might have had something to do with the fake hood scoop.
It looked very similar to this one:

I'm not sure what they're trying to prove here.  I opened the hood.  I looked.  It's fake.  What gives?

Anyway,  'nuff about that.  You'll be seeing lots more of this vehicle I would imagine,  as I do tend to keep vehicles for a long time.  Like,  had I not sold the '03 to my nephew,  I'd still have it.  He does,  and it's still a fine working truck. It's got a couple bumps here and there,  and he did admit to a bit of "truck envy" when I showed him this newer version.
This one does have a few more "bells and whistles",  and gobs of places to store your stuff.

Like I said.  'nuff about that.

I'm out.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Here it is October, and I've been mute.

Seems that most of anything I have to say revolves around "stuff" around the house.  Hate to say it consumes most of my time,  but that does tend to be the way it goes.
We've been having a bit of a blow for the last few days,  including a whack of rain.  There has been flooding.  Thankfully not affecting us.  I'd like to think I've taken all the steps necessary to mitigate any flooding here at the Ponderosa,  but we're in a neighbourhood where the storm drains and sewer drains all FLOW TOGETHER.   No bueno.   Resolving that issue would be a somewhat major undertaking I would think.  It'll never happen.

Now, in spite of the huge system that has been dumping on us,  there was a break in the rain yesterday long enough for me to finish off yet another project.

Yes,  we now have a section of fence between us and our neighbour.  There's a plan afoot to put some sort of plant there that needs not only lots of sun,  but also something to grow against.   "Wisteria",  I think it was?   Not my department, although I'll likely be pressed into service to plant the thing.

Oh,  and when I say "finished",  I'm not.    There will be more of this type of fence,  going along the front.   Next year.   Can't wait!   Not.

The neighbour's son came over to compliment me on the look of the thing,  and I did say that I'd not recommend this particular activity as "a hobby".   It's taken me several days,  my goal being to put in one panel a day.    By "son",  I mean a dude who is about my age,  as his Mom,   who lives next door on her own,  is most certainly in her early eighties.  So her "kids" come by fairly regularly to help out. He cuts the grass.

And being on the corner is one of the reasons for the fence.   It would be nice to have an extended garden,  without the thought of someone (usually kids) deciding to take a shortcut across the corner.
The security cameras have definitely been a deterrent in that regard, or at least that has been my impression.
Hey,  I'm not about to sit there watching hours of footage to see if anyone has had to nerve to take a short cut.  It's usually only if there are definite signs,  like footprints in the snow,  or depressions in a way too soft spring lawn.  Or,  when someone is permitted to step on my brand new downspout!   Still pissed about that,  but that's another story.  I think it was someones small child,  but that was before the cameras went in,  and I can only guess from the tiny footprints in the snow.)

And yes,  there are a bunch of rocks there next to the house (in the "back alley")  that I need to sort out.  I'm thinking there will be a rock garden somewhere out towards the corner.  

There was a guy (neighbour I'm guessing) who came by last year some time and offered to "take them off my hands",  but he also didn't offer any money,  so that was that.  Turns out,  rocks ain't "free",  even though I did go and collect them off a farmer's rock pile,  and he was happy to be rid of them,  my time and fuel might just be worth something.  Go to the local building supplier and check out the cost of granite.  You'll faint.  Seems to me I said something like, "That much for freakin' rocks?"  and decided to try and go off and collect my own.  Needed them for the pillars I built.

Supposed to go sailing tomorrow.  Not too sure about that.  That lake looks pretty damned angry right about now.  I'd prefer that the last sail of the season not be the worst sail of the season?  Just saying.

Maybe we'll just meet for a cold beverage and a few snacks.  

That's about it for the time being.  Thanks for stopping by.  Keep those sticks on the ice.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Tomatoes on everything.

This is not a bad thing,  but we're ever so slightly being over-run with tomatoes.  There's toasted tomato sandwiches (or,  for a "fuller menu",  add bacon!)  tomato chutney (or whatever the heck that was that T.C. made the other day,  and of course,  we're bagging them up and giving them away to any takers.   Once in a while,  I'll just be passing through the kitchen and pop one in my mouth.  *drool*

Such a problem!

I guess I could say it's been a bit of a busy summer.  They always are.  Mind you,  there haven't been any days when I've been pining to go back to work or anything.  I mean,  are you kidding?

I had counted on trying to finish up at least one outdoor project today,  but we're getting a wee bit of rain it seems.  No complaints.  We can certainly use the rain.  I get tired of trying to water the plants,  and then eventually had to start watering the lawn.  It's recovering,  but there's still a few dead spots.

One of the little projects is a pergola that I'm building at my sister-in-law's place.
For many years now her grape vines have been leaning farther and farther over,  and we decided to do something about it.

It was a little bit more involved than she initially figured I'm sure,  but had I been entirely candid about the lengths to which I was willing to go to make something,  she probably would have told me to not bother.
My benchmark is,  "it shouldn't look like it was constructed by monkeys".   That's the standard.  Typically,  I can manage that.

I still have to put in pieces along the side adjacent to the grape vines in order to train them over onto it,  as well as a cross member for bracing on the near side.  I have those pieces at the ready,  but they're out there in the rain.  And I'd rather not be.

Some of the material I already had,  which was left over from the project we did at the front of The Ponderosa.  Minus the profiles,  of course.
I had three 16 foot two by eight lengths of cedar wrapped up under a tarp,  so I did have to go out and pick up a fourth piece.

Now,  I said "I",  but really,   my nephew has been a huge help.  First of all,  he has the pick-up truck I sold to him back when we moved to Europe.  That's always handy.  He was right there when it was time to put all the pieces together plus,  he and his son dug the post holes for the posts.  That's just nasty work.   I "helped".   But they did all of the heavy lifting.   And that's not just a figure of speech either.   I was going to hire someone with some sort of post hole digging gizmo,  but he insisted that they could do it.  OK then.

Anyway,  these are some of the things that tend to occupy my time.   
Not that that's any excuse for not blogging.  I'm just mostly apathetic in that regard.  

Oh,  I did go to my first ever NFL game a couple days ago.   Jets at Buffalo.   Did the whole "tail gating" thing.  Had a good time.   Probably could have done with some earplugs.   My memory is a bit dim,  but I don't recall ever being at a rock concert that was that loud.   Holy moly!

This pretty much sums up the extent of the activities leading up to the game.   I stole this one from my buddy Steve.    Thanks Steve.

The idea is,  get there plenty early,  at a predetermined,  relatively close parking area,  set up "camp",  eat, drink,  etc.   and generally discuss all things football.   The parking has to be far enough from the stadium to make it easier to get out of there when the game is over,  but not so far away that walking to the venue is a problem.

As we had arrived in plenty of time,  we got the choice spot over under the tree.  It was indeed sunny, and unless you had some sort of temporary shelter,  you'd fry.

As it is,  between that outing and golfing yesterday,  I think I just might have overdone it in the sunshine department.  Feeling a little "funky" today.

Friday golf outings have been a bit of a thing lately.  Just have to make the commitment to GO,  and plan your life around that,  otherwise the summer slips by,  and the clubs sit there in the closet.

We had a newby come out with us as well.  (Like we're not newby's!  Ha!)  That's one of my sisters-in-law Betty,  who had never golfed in her life.  She did make good contact a couple times.  I'm certainly not one to give lessons as,  truth be told,  I should be taking lessons,  but I suppose I might have given her a couple hints.   I could see that there was a very good chance that she could hurt herself,  judging by the way she was swinging the club.  Sure enough,  she was a bit sore later.  She's pretty tough though,  didn't complain.   But I've 'been there, and done that' in that department.
Not too much anymore,  so maybe I'm doing a couple things right?

Hey,  I actually parred one hole.  One.  That's it.

Meh, I guess that's it for a while.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Perfect weather for doing "stuff".

Talk about the temperature having a direct effect on ones energy level.  Sad to say,  anytime it's hot and humid,  I have the motivation of a sloth.  Which of course,  made working in a hot school somewhat problematic.  Glad those days are far behind me.
Anyway,  'nuff of that talk about that four letter word.  Don't want to get all maudlin.  Or whatever emotion it is that comes out when talking about wo...well,  let's not even mention it.

So,  Travelling Companion and I had a golf morning.  It wasn't much of an early morning,  since I had to call the club and tell them that we'd be late.   Our t-off was for 9:30,  and I noticed on my receipt that we did manage to at least pay our green fees at something like 9:37.   I don't like being "late" though,  and they appreciated that I called.  One needs to be civilized,  after all.
Getting ourselves out the door this morning was somewhat akin to "herding cats",  and don't get me wrong,  I was just as disconnected from any kind of time pressure as T.C.

Anyhoodle,  we had a wonderful time.  Never really broke a sweat,  except for maybe when we got back into the hot car.  Even then the temperature was something like 25º (Celsius)  We've made plans to go back next week.  Providing of course,  that the weather cooperates.
That's the key.

Not easy taking pictures of the two of you,  and not totally cock it up.

T.C. is never overly thrilled at having her picture taken,  so the fact that she's slightly out of focus back there is probably a good thing.

Of course,  I sucked.  But hey,  like I said,  it was such an awesome morning,  it didn't really matter.  There are plenty more golf balls in the store.  Or at least that's the way I look at it.  It's best not to get too emotionally attached to any particular type or set of golf balls I find.  Much easier to handle to inevitable losses.   And trust me,  there were a few of those.


Moving on,  I managed to have the energy in the afternoon to get started on a pergola that my nephew and I are contemplating for my sister-in-law.

These are pieces I had left over from when we did the front of the house.  I'm in need of a third sixteen footer.  We'll fetch that tomorrow.   The posts and other cross members will be pressure treated,  but the main bits will be cedar.   Only because I actually had these three pieces on hand.  Initially we talked about making the whole thing from pressure treated,  and simply using an opaque stain to dress it up.  It's a colour that's very similar to what you see around the garage windows there.

That was the big excitement for today.  There's other "stuff".  I have pictures.  But maybe that'll be for another time.

Don't you just hate this sort of "click bait" thing I have going on?  A few words are better than none.  At least that's the story I'm going with.

Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Got the bug.

And by that I mean,  the Emerald Ash Borer.

And we're not alone.

The chap I hired to come today and cut down one of the "three sisters" as we used to call them,  has been way too busy cutting down ash trees as fast as folks can hire him.  Not his favourite thing to do, as he'd much prefer to be trimming trees and other general arboreal upkeep.

This was the beast.

 We estimate at around 75 years old,  which would have meant maybe another lifespan of 25+ years or so?  Needless to say,  no plans to cut it down in the foreseeable future.  Not my future anyway.

There was a certain amount of studying going on even before climbing the tree.  Best to try and plan these things while on the ground I suppose.

I took a mess of pictures,  but you know the drill.   Climb tree.  Tie off.  Cut chunks off.  Lower them to the ground.

Preferably without coming into contact with that expensive roof we had installed a couple years ago.

You can see all the dead branches.

Anyway,  that last pic is early afternoon,  and they're just about done.  Gonna miss the extra shade,  but that particular tree had this one dead branch that extended out precariously over the driveway.  No bueno.

Now,  in case you don't feel like reading that wiki article,  I'll show you first hand what these little buggers do.

More or less self explanatory.  They bore into the "cambium",  and literally choke the tree to death.  Seems to me the cambium sends nutrients down the tree from above, and ultimately makes a new growth ring.

Almost as bad as putting down an ageing pet.  Well, maybe not quite.  But we're seriously running out of trees around here.   Since we moved in over twenty years ago,  we've cut down five mature trees due to disease,  as well as another two as a result of poor location.  (Between the two houses.  Not good.)

So,  that's all I'll be 'sharing' today.   Last week we were in Vancouver.  Maybe I'll go on about that in a day or two.

Thanks for stopping by.