Winter Wonderland

Saturday, April 13, 2013

We were going to make a quick trip into town to fill a prescription, but it started snowing just after Attila got home from work. Maybe we will go tomorrow. The sun is supposed to shine tomorrow.

The ice storm was interesting. The roads were very bad yesterday. We kept our hydro service though. It flickered now and again, we held our breath and waited several times, but it kept going.

The ice pellets have been coming off the roof in great clumps. It has been a steady thump, thump, thump, all day long. It has accumulated on the deck and is about a foot thick. I will be waiting for that to disappear!

We have ravens living around our house. Yesterday I observed a raven consuming a chipmunk, just below the kitchen window. That bird was as big as a turkey. Eventually it stashed the remains of the chipmunk beside a fallen tree branch, covered it with leaves and wandered off on foot, into the bush to search for more food supplies.

I talked with Terra yesterday, on the telephone. She and Lares are renovating the bathroom in their new house. They keep finding more to do as they get into the project, mostly because the house is a century farm house and in need of TLC. Slowly but surely though, their bathroom is becoming functional again. It will be lovely when it is done.

Mist has taken to sitting on the back of the couch, just behind where Attila is sitting with his laptop. She sits and gazes over his shoulder at the computer screen. I could swear she is reading along with him! It is hilarious, and very sweet.

The weather people are predicting rainy, warmer weather. The rain I could do without, but the warm, well, hello and welcome!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

We awoke to a winter wonderland. Two centimetres of fluffy white fell in the wee hours. Black tree branches are outlined in white, yesterday’s tire tracks through the ice pellets have disappeared under a blanket of white.

Terra sent a picture at around 2 a.m. this morning. She first took a shot of the spider. Then she woke up Lares to kill the spider. Then she put a loonie on the floor where the spider had been and took another picture. Then she put the photos side by side and emailed them. That spider was bigger than the loonie! Now that is a spider!

So Terra was awake in the wee hours.

I had a nice chin wage with Harriet this morning. She is busy cooking chick peas for a dish she wants to make today. She was able to rake her front lawn yesterday. She lives in the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada. Today, she said, she is going to rake the back yard. I am a little envious, the pictures below will demonstrate why that is.

Harriet said she had trouble sleeping last night.

After a difficult night, I had slept in, so we were off to a slow start this morning. I slept in until 7:30 a.m., something that only occurs a few times a year, at most.

I had trouble sleeping last night.

Funny to think that last night, in the wee hours, Terra, Harriet and I were all up and roaming, due to sleeplessness; all the time we were completely unaware of each other.

Attila and I took our trip to town right after breakfast.

Attila is our Grand Master of Supplies. He knows what we need, and just how much we should be paying for it. He had all the sales in town mapped out, so we navigated through the shopping trip easily. We picked up the prescription and headed home. And all of this travelling in wonderful, bright sunshine!

We found that cameras were on sale, and it was just too difficult to resist. We bought a “bridge” camera, some great features but a lot of user friendly features for the non-professional. I’ve been playing with it all day long. Attila will use the old camera, as it is just the size he prefers, it fits in his pocket. The new camera, a Fuji FinePix S4200, is larger and much heavier.

We took the cameras out for a walk in the sunshine. Rubber boots were definitely in order, lots of mud and snow on the roads. As we were walking out of an unserviced road, we met a family walking in, probably going in to check on their cottage. They knew what they were doing, they all wore rubber boots!

Our Sunday Walk, April 14, 2013

Great White Retreat
1 Great White Retreat
Ice Lace
2 Ice Lace
Loose-Your-Boot Mud
3 Loose Your Boot Mud
Plow Droppings
4 Plowed Banks
Transition
5 Pooling
Across the Hills
6 Forest Walk
The Neighbours Bonfire To Be
7 Neighbours Bonfire To Be
They Lost Interest Long Ago
8 Neighbours Lost Interest

Worldly Distractions

Weather

1 °C
Condition: Precipitation
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 1.4°C
Dewpoint: -0.5°C
Humidity: 88 %
Wind: WSW 5 km/h

Quote

“Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
Louisa May Alcott

Bathroom Renovation

The bathroom ceiling BEFORE the ceiling tiles were removed. One test tile was removed to see what we were dealing with. What we found was wallpapered drywall.
Bathroom ceiling tile original
The bathroom ceiling AFTER the ceiling tiles were removed. Note the electrical box in the ceiling for a light fixture! The wallpaper is a pretty floral, but is not salvageable.
Bathroom ceiling tiles removed

Attila and I have managed to get a weekend off!

Right not I am sitting on an easy chair, writing and basking in the sun, at our little house in the city.

Attila and I drove down as soon as we could get away, leaving just after the firing of the masonry heater was completed and the damper closed. Just a matter of bad luck that the temperature, for the nights we are away, will dip below -20C! We will be heating two places for the few days of this cold snap! But despite the added heating expenses during a cold snap, we decided to make the trip.

We really needed to get out and about. We haven’t been here for eight weeks, and our only two outings during he last eight weeks was to visit the grocery store in the village, 35 km from the country house. So this trip is timely and a real treat.

When we arrived at the little house in the city the first thing I did was to check the kitchen for signs of mice. I checked drawers and behind cupboard doors. I checked the mousetrap I had baited and set under the kitchen sink. There wasn’t one sign of a mouse! Could this mean we have finally evicted all the wildlife from this house? I have my fingers crossed.

The second thing I checked after we arrived was the fuel gage on the oil tank, we have an oil furnace. We have used just over two-thirds of a tank of oil since last March. We keep the temperature in the little house at 7C when we are away, and did not winterize it in December when we left. This works very well, but we did begin to feel concern about damage to the plumbing, in the event the heating system shuts down, due to a power loss. We are going to winterize the little house before leaving, because we do not know if we will manage another visit before the end of winter.

Terra stopped in for a visit after she finished her shift at work, we chatted for a little while and then she headed home to check on her pets, Scamper the dog, and her three mellow cats, Baxter, Bees and Harley. We followed sometime later, and shared a nice supper with Terra and Lares. After a game of cards, we headed home. We had a most enjoyable evening.

We did a “catch up” shopping trip. We stocked up on all kinds of items at prices significantly lower than those near our country house. In fact, the amount of money we save, on groceries bought near the little house in the city, covers a good part of the cost of fuel for the visit.

After returning from our errands I began to ready the bathroom for renovation. I removed all the towels, soap, toothbrushes, etc., completely emptying the room. Then, after lunch, Attila began to remove ceiling tiles in the bathroom. We decided to begin with removing the tiles, because that would be the least intrusive place to begin gutting the room. Because our visits are usually just overnight, we have to move slowly with any renovation. We will want to use the bathroom until we are ready to switch out the sink/toilet/tub. The ceiling and the flooring can come out, without disturbing the function of the room. Perhaps even the waterproof tile board and drywall can be removed without diminishing the function of the room.

It does feel very good to continue with this project. We replaced the window last summer, it was a huge improvement. Everything we do for this little house in the city is a huge improvement. With the application of a little common sense, a little bit of money and a lot of sweat equity, we are rewarded with success!

Underneath the ceiling tiles we found wallpaper that covered drywall. Much to our surprise, also under the tiles, was an electrical box for a ceiling light. Whoever installed the tiles covered up the electrical box; we wondered what the “useless” switch outside the bathroom was for, and now we know.

The heating vent for the bathroom is also covered up completely by flooring. We know this because the heating ductwork for the bathroom is all there, visible from the basement, but hidden beneath the laminate flooring. At present, with the heating vent covered over by flooring, there is no heat source in the bathroom, of all rooms!

We have two projects on our list for 2013, for the little house in city. One is to renovate the bathroom, the other is to build a small front porch at the front door. At the moment the front door is about three feet off the ground, and one must enter using a ladder. For now we mostly enter by a different entrance, so that isn’t a really big problem. But I really would like to use the front door at times, and a front porch would add substantial curb appeal; something our neighbours will appreciate, I am sure. Part of the porch project will be transplanting the annuals in the rear garden, back to where they came from, on either side of the front entrance.

I have been writing this entry off and on throughout the day. Now the sun is settling low, taking with it all that lovely light and warmth. This is our only full day here at the little house, and we have made the most of it. Soon we will be packing up, winterizing the plumbing and heading back to the country.

I awoke at 5:20 am and decided to get out of bed. Often I lie waiting for Attila to wake up, but that is not a good plan. I tend to dwell on my troubles if I lie about in the mornings. It suits me much better to be up and about, immediately after the morning finds me. This morning I arose, and made myself a cup of coffee. I have been sipping my coffee, reading “The Secret Garden” and watching the rosy dawn creep into the bare branches of the trees outside the window, as it prepares to leap into the sky.

I have found that being an early morning riser is a lonely road. I frequently find myself waiting for the rest of the world to stir, trying to fill in time. The people I have lived with in my adult years have all mastered the art of “sleeping in”; and when they do wake up in the morning their awareness of the world dawns slowly. Me, on the other hand, I open my eyes in the early morning to a rainbow of thoughts, my mind wandering around poking and prodding reality and experience for interesting tidbits, thinking of all the things that could make the day a wondrously interesting experience. It is an understatement to say that others do not share that early morning enthusiasm.

Terra and Lares will drop in to share a pancake breakfast with us. As a treat we purchased some fresh strawberries, to serve sliced with our pancakes. Nothing like a good pancake breakfast to get you through the day!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1 °C
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 99.9 kPa
Visibility: 1 km
Temperature: -1.1°C
Dewpoint: -1.7°C
Humidity: 96 %
Wind: SSE 21 gust 32 km/h
Wind Chill: -7

Quote

“Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.”
Albert Einstein
1879 – 1955

The dry wall and tile panelling around the tub tap were completely rotted away, leaving a gaping hole. I layered duct tape shingle style to create a waterproof covering, so that we could take a shower. We removed the dark wooden “shelf” on the left, which covered chips in the tub’s enamel.
Bathroom tub tap shelf before