Another Demolition Day

Last night I could not sleep. At 4:30 a.m. I finally drifted off, only to awaken at 7:30 a.m., not because I had to, only because my being decided not to sleep. I am feeling overwhelmed by this renovation. I arose, opened most of the windows, then hopped in the shower. After puttering around until 9:45, it was past time to awaken Attila so that the day’s work could begin; he worked until 11:00 p.m. last night. Rain is forecast for Friday night, and Saturday, which adds some pressure to the enterprise.

His day began with a cigarette and a coffee on the back porch, then a change into street clothes and a trip to the building centre to buy more Sawzall blades. I was sent yesterday to buy them, but the type he requested were not in stock, and I dared not choose a substitute.

He is doing a terrific job on the garage roof. The project possesses him, he lives and breathes it right now, as I knew he would. There is no room here for relaxed conversation, and even finding time for a shared meal some days. The project will not be completed by the end of Attila’s vacation, although I fervently hope that by Sunday night he has the metal roofing in place on the roof, to keep things dry.

Once the roof is secure, then all the items in the garage need to be sorted through, and what needs to be discarded can go into the dumpster before it is picked up. A lot of items that were once viable are now completely destroyed by water and mould and mildew. I will be involved with this aspect of the project, because some of the articles in the garage are/were mine.

There is much to do after the roof is secure from the weather. New sections of wall near the peak of the roof must be constructed, siding installed. New wiring needs to be installed to supply the garage with electrical power. A window needs to be installed. I am sure there is more I am not aware of yet.

And then there will be animal eviction. Already chipmunks are in the garage, coming in through the open roof. I will have to use a live trap once the dumpster goes, and I have purchased more mouse traps. There is an opening from the garage into the new shed, so the animals will have infiltrated it as well, more time using the live trap and the mouse traps. It might even be necessary to remove all the items from the shed to make sure we get all of the animals out, a big job. None of this is avoidable under the circumstances.

I have always found renovations challenging. Attila prefers to work alone, team work isn’t his thing, and communication over what needs to be done can get sticky at times. The renovations also seem to take much longer than anticipated, Attila felt only a week was needed for this new garage roof, but I know that it will be the focus of life here until the snow flies. The expense is challenging as well, I do the juggling, the borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, and any worrying that comes into the administrative side of things. This is not something I enjoy, but it is necessary to move forward towards a home that is warm, dry, and free of animals, mould, and mildew. When this project is complete the house will be almost there!

The wildlife are finding the project interesting. Chipmunks have invaded the garage, and probably mice too, although I haven’t seen them. Birds land on the newly installed rafters. This morning, as I opened the window closest to the dumpster, I watched a little rabbit peeking through the crack at the door, probably wondering if there was any food in there!

Just to note, the funding program, through which we received assistance in paying for the desperately needed new windows, and attic insulation, has been discontinued, as anticipated; due to the new right wing government in Ontario. All environmental programs are now cancelled. For our own good, we are told. Thank goodness I found the program when I did last winter, and that I pursued it to completion. Otherwise, the windows and attic insulation would be huge jobs that Attila would have taken on by himself, over the coming years. The other program I was applying for is a non-starter, the call for the energy audit did not come as promised, nor any explanation. Of course, I know what happened, another cancelled energy program courtesy of right wing politicians.

As I write the whine of the Sawzall fills the air, the smell of hot tar reaches my nostrils through the open windows. Attila is hard at work demolishing the second half of the garage roof. Go Attila go!

Oh, adding a few images of the day’s work, forgot them when I first posted!

Garage roof front sawzall The old roof that Attila is cutting up and removing with the Sawzall. Very heavy going!

Garage roof rear rafters The back section of the garage, with the repaired wall on the right, and the first rafters installed, but many more to go!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18 C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Wednesday 20 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.9C
Dew point: 14.9 C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: S 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Everything in the world may be endured except continued prosperity.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1749 – 1832

I’d like to try it for myself to find out!

Busily Recuperating

The summer cold continues to plague me, although the symptoms lessen slowly over time, I am still struggling to keep up my fluids, and go through boxes of tissues. I was only up twice last night coughing, an improvement. This is one miserable cold!

My energy levels are definitely down, but I am managing to remain a it active anyway.

On Saturday Attila and I took a run out to the Rideau Camp. All was well there, except for the hoards of army worms. They were there in much greater numbers than our last visit, even though I had destroyed hundreds and hundreds of them. The spray works really well for the swarms of them, but not so well on individual worms. Attila sprayed, while I used a stick to squish the low lying outliers. I also tended an all day camp fire, burning a lot of the brush that had been brought up from the swamp area near the road, it had dried out. I estimate that I was on my feet dealing with army worms for over seven hours on Saturday. By the time we headed home it was beginning to get dark, after 8:00 p.m., and I could hardly stand I was so tired. I really enjoyed being a passenger on the drive home!

Mice continue to enter Grace the Trailer, I haven’t found the entry point yet. I spent an hour or so spraying their mess with hydrogen peroxide, then collecting and burning it all in the camp fire. Mice are horrid, destructive little beasts! While working on the army worms near Winnie the outhouse, I noticed debris hanging from the ceiling in there. Sure enough, a mouse was building a nest in the ceiling. I chased the mouse away, knocked the nest down, then used tongs to throw it into the camp fire. Critters!

Yesterday was restful by comparison. I spent my day preparing food, using the back porch as an outdoor kitchen. I used the Nesco oven to bake a rhubarb crisp, with fresh rhubarb from the garden. I used the bread machine to bake a loaf of bread. Using the dehydrator fresh oregano from the garden was dried and powdered. The dehydrated tomato seeds and skins, leftover when the tomatoes were processed with the food mill, were powdered as well. Having used appliances out of doors, in a covered area, the house was not heated up at all, and it remained a cool haven all day long.

One of my projects last week involved the sewing machine. While I had it out to stitch up the skirt curtain for the basement window, I also stitched up some cabana curtains, using my stash of old bed sheets. The sheets were all white, but all different sizes, which looks a little haphazard, but does the job nicely. One of the sheets was the one that was sent to summer camp with Terra, when she was in primary school. It still has her initials painted onto it with fingernail polish, and a fingernail polish footprint, where the project got a little out of hand. When these sheets wear out, I’ll look for replacements of the same size, in bright colours. For now though, the white sheets are doing a fine job of keeping the afternoon sun off the deck. No longer does it heat up to unbearable temperatures in late afternoon.

Cabana curtain back porch june 2018 The back porch cabana curtain. The porch gets full sun from about 2 p.m. until sundown, and it gets very hot on the back porch when that happens. I hung old white flat sheets from long curtain rods, to make “cabana curtains” for the back porch. They work wonderfully well, so that I can now sit out on the porch comfortably all afternoon, and the house no longer gets hot in the afternoons. Note that the porch is a sorry affair. The decking is actually hardwood flooring, never meant to be installed without support. Attila added the outer row of short pieces, from scrap we found below the porch. There was no railing when we bought Mist Cottage. The cast iron railing that is there now, was the railing on the front porch, a huge concrete affair that had sunk towards the house and rotted out the sill plates. The railing was saved and installed on the back porch. The back porch is the next project on the list of renovations, another year.

Today I am resting, as I feel quite worn out!

For dinner tonight I need to come up with something using a single chicken breast. I want to use the mini Instantpot that we recently purchased on sale, couldn’t resist it for the back porch summer kitchen! Most of the recipes I find online use ketchup, soy sauce, and other ingredients that are full of sugars and sodium. I am going to attempt to use the techniques, while using completely different ingredients.

Although I was aware of Instantpots, I didn’t give them a second thought. I have a pressure cooker, and a pressure canner, what would I do with an Instantpot pressure cooker. Bex shared some recipes she tried in one, and I was intrigued. Then I found one on sale, and that was it, home it came. It is the smallest one, 3 quart, there are only two of us here. The first recipe tried was Rice Pudding, it was the best rice pudding I have ever made, hands down. The second recipe tried was Vegetarian Baked Beans, very yummy, very easy. The third recipe was spicy kidney beans for Attila, very nice. The Instantpot is perfect for a one-electrical-outlet based, outdoor kitchen on the back porch. It sautés, in addition to pressure cooking, so that it is the only pot needed to prepare a dish. Since I don’t add any sodium to my dishes, and limit condiments like soy sauce, which are high in sodium, finding flavour requires sautéing. Caramelized onions are essential in sodium free savoury cooking.

I received a call this morning, a dumpster became available. Attila called them back later this morning, and the dumpster arrives today! The driveway is not ready for it. Iris the Trailer needs to be relocated, I cannot do it, so I have my fingers crossed that Attila arrives home early enough to move her out of the way before the dumpster arrives. Otherwise, he will have to carry debris around Iris, to deposit it in the dumpster small load by small load, a real waste of precious time, but it is his time, it is his project. I am a person who likes to think ahead and be prepared, I would have moved Iris on the weekend, but Attila does not move to the beat of the same drum. It will all work out somehow, it always does, and the only tension Attila experiences in these situations is due to my reactions, which I diligently try to keep to myself. [Note: Attila arrived home in time to move Iris onto the front lawn, before the dumpster was delivered. It is huge. I think the whole house might fit into it! This will be a good opportunity to do a all out purge.]

I am an ounce of prevention woman, living with a pound of cure man.

Sometimes I waste time on prevention, for circumstances that never materialize. Sometimes Attila wastes time ameliorating situations that might have been prevented. It probably balances itself out.

Attila seems very settled into his life here, which I am finding comfortable. The one true thing, that I live in a house with Attila, is still true. For now, it is enough, perhaps it always will be. I can only hope that future changes in my life are not so jarring as the terrible, terrible mistake. The knowledge that anything could happen is still very close.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Monday 11 June 2018
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 20.8°C
Dew point: 6.2°C
Humidity: 38%
Wind: NE 18 gust 34 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
1890 – 1969

Unwelcome Visitor

Last night we took a drive out to the Rideau Camp. It was lovely and sunny when we left, just after Attila got home from work. In the distance there were towering cloud formations, billowing up into the blue sky.

Introducing Grace, our new old travel trailer, a 2001 5th Wheel, which now resides at the Rideau Camp. She will make our visits to the Camp much more comfortable, and allow us to visit overnight from early May until late October.

Sofa bed grace may 2017 DSCF0710 Here is what we found when we went to open up the sofa bed! An animal had chewed into the mattress, leaving quite a lot of foam bits in the process. We had heard no noises, there was no smell, no signs at all of an animal intrusion, other than the obvious damage to the mattress. But there it was, this evidence of intrusion that obviously took place before we got the trailer. The previous owners said they never used the pull out bed, and so they would not have seen this. It doesn’t affect the sale as far as we are concerned. The trailer is old, and old means that these kinds of things are par for the course. The hole is large, and would not have been made by a mouse. Our closest guess is that the previous owners left the door open at some point in their travels, a squirrel got in, was frightened, burrowed into the mattress, then took the first opportunity to escape again through an open door. They must have been in the habit of leaving the door open and unattended. We don’t know with any certainty what animal caused this damage.

The weather remained sunny for several hours after we arrived at the Camp. Attila whipper snipped the “lawn”, which is really our personal collection of indigenous weeds. I began by donning a breathing mask and vinyl gloves, then removing the sofa bed cushions, spraying all areas in and around the evidence of animal intrusion, then removing the foam bits. During this process there were no noises, or any signs of animal activity. I think whatever did this is long gone. We aren’t entirely sure of that though, so when we left last night we set the live trap beside the sofa, and two glue traps on either end of the trailer. We do not anticipate catching anything, but better safe than sorry.

After dealing with the debris, I opened up the sofa bed and had a look underneath to see if there were any entry points there; there were none, nor was there any evidence of animal presence under the sofa. The damage seemed to be completely confined what can be seen in the photograph. That was a relief. I will do a second round of disinfection of the hole in the mattress, and then stuff it with foam and repair the covering fabric. That said, the mattress is terribly uncomfortable! If we were going to seriously think about having people sleep on it, we would consider replacing it with a better quality mattress.

Moving on from the sofa cleanup, the bathroom was next on the list. It was very clean in all the well used and/or visible areas, but there were some serious looking black clumps at the back of the cabinet, near the entry point for the water pipes. This is a common entry point for mice in homes. Out came the hydrogen peroxide, the area was sprayed, the clumps removed and bagged, and the area washed. Then out came the bats of steel wool, with which I firmly filled in the holes around the pipes, which will prevent any intrusions from mice. That was as far as I got with my cleaning.

I joined Attila outside to sit and watch the storm clouds roll in, they were moving fast, and the wind was picking up. As the first raindrops began to fall we retreated into Grace. The propane stove was sitting at the ready, no setup required. We heated up a can of beans, threw in a few diced wieners, and enjoyed a hot meal as the storm raged around us. We were snug as bugs in a rug.

After dinner I tackled the dishes. I brought out a wash basin with us, because although we have a kitchen sink, we cannot use the drains until we have dug a dry well and figured out how to direct the grey water tank to it. All in good time. In the meantime, dishes will be done in the basin, which will be carried outside to pour onto the our large garden of indigenous weeds. Attila spent some time inserting more steel wool to close the holes around the large spaces created where the water pipes come up out of the floor in the kitchen. There may be other entry points for rodents, but I haven’t found them yet if there are.

Another bonus is that I discovered that a plastic tote will fit in the closet, so that I can bring fabrics, bedding, facecloths, towels, and leave them there, well protected from rodents and insects in the tote.

The storm soon passed, and the sun came out once more, it was time to head home.

We were almost reluctant to leave, we enjoy being there so much.

This morning I sit with my list of items to outfit Grace. I am quite delighted that my collection of odd old plates and bowls have a home that befits them. Over the years when I saw an old lone plate or bowl at a yard sale or charity shop, one that I loved the look and feel of, I bought it. Twenty five cents here, ten cents there. So now our meals in Grace will be taken on these lovely old pieces of history. Junk to almost everyone else, objects of pleasure to us.

I am starting to crochet a kitchen towel, a small towel that loops over the oven handle and is secured with a button. We had one we bought ages ago at a church sale, and it recently wore out. Time for a replacement, or three, one for Mist Cottage, one for Iris the trailer, and one for Grace the trailer.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

16°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Wednesday 31 May 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.4°C
Dew point: 10.8°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: SSW 22 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”
George Eliot
1819 – 1880

Shhhhh…

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Quiet please!

Today I am surrounded by silence. Why? Because FedEx says they are delivering a parcel from Ikea today. Our house is very hard to find, at least for delivery people. Several deliveries were only made because I followed the truck down the street, to catch up when the confused driver stopped to try and figure out where the heck we are. So now I keep the house in silence when a delivery is expected, so that I can hear the truck come down the street, and step outside to flag it down before it passes the house. I have considered getting a blinking neon house number sign, to place temporarily at the end of the driveway when a delivery is expected.

We bought wonderful new beds when we moved into Mist Cottage, twins with lots of drawers underneath, perfect for a tiny 10×10 bedroom. Our former bedding is a hodge podge of really old blankets and sheets (over 30 years old, even older, some from Attila’s childhood), sheets and comforters purchased at sales, and bedding purchased from thrift stores, then sterilized for use. I have one set of really nice flannel sheets purchased to withstand the cold nights at The Country House. But now we have new beds and a thermostat! When I saw “cool” twin size duvets on sale at Ikea for $7.99 each, I was sold!

We had frost again last night, but Attila hadn’t covered the garden, so it remains to be seen what lived through the night, and what did not.

We are being audited, yet again. I don’t understand how we get targeted for so many tax audits. Every time we are audited it is discovered that everything is above board and as it should be. This time we need to provide all the documentation for our move, which a year later is a big job, finding all the receipts and related materials, getting written letters from employers, a real pain in the patootie. I spent my morning scanning receipts, and Attila has to find time to make another trip into the personnel office to remind them about that letter he needs for Canada Revenue. We knew this might happen, but were hoping to avoid all this work!

I have been working away at my genealogy book, when darned ancestry offered temporary free access to UK records. I couldn’t pass that offer up, so I’ve been sidetracked into researching the English side of my family history, which is not the side of the family that are the subject of my book. Ancestry is so very expensive!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Yesterday the duvets arrived from Ikea. The driver said he had no problem finding us, because the extra instructions I had tried to type into the Address 2 field when I ordered the items online actually got printed on the shipping label, a first. I had also ordered two duvet cover sets, and two “warm” duvets. The first thing I did was to wash the cover sets, then hang them on the clothesline out on the back porch to dry in the sun. Attila helped me stuff the duvets into the covers when he got home from work, and then we made up our beds. The real test came overnight, we were comfortably warm during the night, at a nighttime temperature of 18C. Since we turn the thermostat down to 17C at night during the winter months, it seems the “cool” duvets will keep us warm at night all winter long. I am ver impressed with my $7.99 duvets! But who knows, we might want to use the “warm” duvets when winter sets in, we have that option.

For the last three weeks Attila has been on mouse patrol. He has set traps in the garage every night. So far he has caught over a dozen mice. We are not in the least sentimental about mice, they have destroyed too many of our belongings and contaminated too much of our food. They carry disease. If they venture into our living space they must go. A trap was also set in the new garden shed, but so far no mice have been caught there, so we are hoping our careful efforts to build a “mouseproof” shed have met with success. There have been no mice caught since last week, but we will not relax our vigilance, as this is the time of year when they are actively seeking sheltered places to winter.

Today I have a few errands to run, which will take me downtown. I plan on parking at one end of town, then walking the length of downtown and back. I haven’t been going out for my walks of late. The results of this negligence were obvious last night when Attila and went for a walk, and I was out of breath early on. I have been working on my book and doing more research at Ancestry these past few weeks, which has resulted in relative inactivity. I am up and down all day, puttering around the house, up and down the stairs, but it isn’t the same as sustained exercise.

The free Ancestry access is allowing me to find information from England about my Grandmother’s Great Grandparents, which is lots of fun. Records prior to the 1841 census are not easy to pry information out of, but sustained access allows me to follow up on leads that would otherwise be dead ends.

One of the things that I find very sad about this period in my English history, is that the children must work in factories from about the age of eleven. Both parents work as well, in my ancestral families. Most of the English population did not experience the media presented romantic version of life, females were not delicate flowers, and children were not well dressed in short pants with ringlets. Whole families worked just to provide themselves with shelter and food.

The weather was wonderful today! Warm and sunny with a nice breeze.

Sometimes I read young people (mostly males) talking about “old people” as if they don’t understand computers and technology. Comments such as “so easy my Grandmother could do it!” I find really offensive, and if I am honest, stupid and rude.

Case in point: My Mom, 85 years old, has an Apple iPhone. She had x-rays today at the hospital, just a routine thing, and after that her iPhone stopped sending text messages. We chatted, and since I don’t use one I have no clue. However, I found a helpful web page discussing the issue, sent her the link, and she fixed her phone. She is just as savvy with computers as any of of the young people around, and could probably teach them a thing or two about HOW to learn new things, because that is what she has been doing for 85 years, consistently and successfully. That’s my Mom!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Tuesday 11 October 2016
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 2.0°C
Dewpoint: 0.8°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: N 6 km/h

14°C
Date: 5:00 AM EDT Wednesday 12 October 2016
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: falling
Temperature: 14.4°C
Dewpoint: 8.5°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: S 27 km/h

Quote

“The thing women have got to learn is that nobody gives you power. You just take it.”
Roseanne Barr

I had one of the best teacher’s ever, thanks Mom!