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!

Oh What A Beautiful Day

I continue to attack the mildew odour in Iris’ cushions. The worst affected are the back cushions of the dinette. The foam has been removed from the covers, the covers washed and one of the foams was soaked and washed. This morning the covers still retained a memory of mildew, and the foam has not dried, so that it is not possible to tell just yet if the washing has succeeded. I washed the covers for a second time, which seemed to marginally improve their aroma. I fear that these 39 year old cushions and covers cannot be restored to an acceptable quality for use. New cushions and covers are expensive, I am currently looking for a local source of good quality foam. I am considering covering new foam with makeshift “cases” made from shower curtains; it wouldn’t be pretty, but it just might be functional. If we do manage to get new cushions they won’t be stored in Iris over the winter!

We have a few mosquitoes here at Mist Cottage. They are a lethargic lot, easy to kill, if spotted before they have a chance to bite. I notice that they are stirred up when I walk through the grass on the lawn. There is no standing water here, so I wonder where they are breeding!

When we were visiting with Mom a few weeks ago, staying with my sister-the-oldest-girl, my sister gave us some rhubarb that had thrived in her garden. Tuesday morning the last of it was used to make a rhubarb crisp for Attila’s lunches; it was in and out of the oven before 7:00 a.m., when the cost of hydro increases.

The call came on Wednesday afternoon from the country GP’s office, he requisitioned tests to find out what is going on with the Chronic Kidney Disease diagnosis. I dropped in at the lab to see if the requisition for the tests had come to them, it hadn’t yet. It wasn’t a worry though. At the local lab’s suggestion I called the customer service number on Thursday morning. The requisition had indeed arrived at the central office, and was distributed to the labs immediately, I was good to go. Now I will wait for a call from the GP’s office to let me know about his assessment of the test results. This GP is a real gem, I wish all of them had his skill, sense of ethics, and compassion, it is really a shame I am so far away from his office!

It was definitely chilly this morning, 4C, but I think the weather will now warm up substantially, the high today of 23 will be lovely.

The preparation for our evening visit to the Rideau Camp is under way. I sprayed four pairs of cotton gloves with permethrin yesterday and set them aside this morning to put in the camp box. This morning I sprayed one of my light coloured t-shirts, and two pairs of light coloured socks with permethrin, all to be worn when we visit the camp. This should prevent mosquitoes from biting under my large man’s shirt, our hands as we work, and offer some protection from ticks as well. We now have two serious diseases to worry about from the biting insects in Ontario, whereas during my youth there were none. Both diseases are the indirect compliments of human progress.

For a few years I spent time as a volunteer on the stage and sound crew for the Mariposa Folk Festival. It was fun, I met a lot of great people, learned new skills, and enjoyed myself.

There were those at the time that felt it was beneath me to give away my time as a lowly crew member, there were smirks and some low key derision, but I did not understand their point of view, I still don’t. So I have mixed memories of my Mariposa experience, a contrast between hierarchical and non-hierarchical personality types; I bet you can guess who I found pleasant and who I did not find pleasant.

In 1990 I was on the crew for the 30th anniversary of Mariposa, and got the t-shirt. I haven’t worn it more than a few times, and I unearthed it as I was searching for a light coloured t-shirt to spray with permethrin, to wear at the Rideau Camp; this selection offered a perfect blend of past and present.

Mariposa t 1990

I received a call from my sister-the-youngest-girl, her oldest daughter, my niece, an Engineer who is working out of the country at the moment, has just become engaged to be married. No details at this point. It isn’t difficult to understand how old you are with the younger generation around!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

4°C
Date: 6:00 AM EDT Friday 20 May 2016
Condition: Fog
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 4.1°C
Dewpoint: 3.5°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: ENE 5 km/h
Today Sunny. High 23. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight A few clouds. Low 8.

Quote

“I did not see anything [New York 1886] to help my people. I could see that the Wasichus [white man] did not care for each other the way our people did before the nation’s hoop was broken. They would take everything from each other if they could, and so there were some who had more of everything than they could use, while crowds of people had nothing at all and maybe were starving. This could not be better than the old ways of my people.”
Black Elk 1863-1950
Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

I wonder, at what point in history did our branch of the human species begin to think that greed was normal. It seems so ingrained in the way we see the world, history assumes is was always thus, so it must have begun before written records were kept.

“Goats are very hierarchical, they aren’t a social animal, so you need to work out where you are in the pecking order.”
Thomas Thwaites
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/goatman-calgary-thomas-thwaites-1.3590342

That is interesting, hierarchical goats are not considered social animals. It would fit then that hierarchical humans are not social animals, which would mean that the power structures in our present social structure define our species as “not social animals”… it makes sense in an oddly disturbing sort of way.

Summery Days

Yesterday the weather was wonderful, sunny, warm, a light breeze, couldn’t ask for better.

Attila finished the transplanting, it makes the front of the house look more finished, prettier.

I spent my day trying to get the smell of mildew out of the backing on the naugahyde cushion bottoms. These are the original 1977 cushions, foam and fabric. On the inside of the naugahyde there is a date stamp, March 16 1977. These cushions have seen a lot of wear, and spent a lot of time in a damp environment. I tried various things, including bleach, to remove the smell, but it was persistent, it wouldn’t budge. The cushions were left with the backing opened to the air and sunshine, all that can be done has been done to them. The mildew itself is dead, and the spores are gone, so it is safe enough. The cushions have just a whiff of mildew about them, we will live with that until we can afford new cushions, which won’t be any time soon, if ever.

We made a shopping foray to the building centre yesterday and bought three 2″ vents with bug screens. These will be installed on the vertical fronts of the three benches in the trailer, to provide ventilation, which will theoretically prevent moisture from building up inside the benches, and deter any future development of mould or mildew. I measured and marked where I wanted the vents, and Attila installed them today.

In theory, we have the dampness problems in Iris resolved, with the new roof vent, the cleaning, and the bench vents.

The walls need one more good scrubbing, then it is time to load our gear into Iris. My day was spent with a brush, a bucket of soapy water, and a cloth. I scrubbed the walls and ceiling, and got most of it done and rinsed. Scrubbing a ceiling is pretty hard work for me, as I have degenerating disks in my neck and accommodating that triples the amount of time it takes to do the scrubbing. There is a patch of ceiling by the door that still needs scrubbing, but that is for another day.

When the walls were dry, I moved on to curtains. Iris was built in 1977, she is 39 years old, and all her parts are original, down to the cushions and the curtains. I washed the curtains because they smelled musty. When the washing cycle was done, they still smelled musty, so I washed them again. Upon hanging them on the line to dry I discovered that two panels had disintegrated, and the rest were shedding fibres at an alarming rate. These curtains have seen better days.

The upshot was that I sorted through all the fabrics in the linen closet and found nine passably similar tea towels that would have to fill in as curtains until we have new cushions made for the trailer (which may be never). I ran to Walmart and picked up some cafe curtain clips, came home and ironed the tea towels, then equipped the towels with curtain clips. The new “curtains” are light, bright, and cheerful, if a bit mismatched and haphazard. As soon as the walls dried I installed the new curtains. Now Iris is ready for the cushions to be brought in from the back porch.

Fortunately we have everything we need to outfit Iris, as we had two homes, and saved what could be used in a trailer when we downsized to Mist Cottage. The value of the contents will be close to nothing, as most of our gear could be picked up at the dump, we require clean and functional only. In fact, a lot of what we have was garnered from various dumps where they display usable discarded items free for pickup. Lets face it, in Muskoka what seasonal people throw out is up market from anything we could afford to buy new. Rich people throw away nice things.

The weather is supposed to turn cooler tonight, and we are to get much needed rain. I am relieved to have completed the projects in Iris so that her cushions can go back in and won’t be sitting on the porch when the rain arrives. I was finished just in time, as I placed the last cushion in place, the clouds were rolling in.

These are the original 1977 curtains that came with Iris. They smelled musty, so I washed them, twice.
Iris old curtains
This is one of the two curtains that disintegrated in the wash, the other was much worse. I guess 39 years of keeping the sun out has taken its toll.
Iris disintegrated curtain
Since the curtains needed to be replaced, I decided to use clip on cafe rings instead of a rod pocket gather to hang them. The rings slide a lot easier than the gathered fabric. These are two of the 9 tea towels that I dug out of the linen closet. The other 7 are not a match, but they are all acceptable.
Iris tea towel curtain

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Thursday 12 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 13.8°C
Dewpoint: 3.6°C
Humidity: 50%
Wind: SE 5 km/h

24°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Thursday 12 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 23.5°C
Dewpoint: 7.4°C
Humidity: 35%
Wind: NE 3 km/h

Quote

“As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life – so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls.”
M. Cartmill

April Snow Showers

Friday, April 1, 2016

At last, here we are in April. This year April is feeling a little shy, arriving with warm breezes and showers, only to take a brief retreat into sub-zero temperatures and snow for her first week debut.

This week has been the week of legal and financial arrangements in regards to the Rideau Camp, and tidying up the loose ends around the trailer purchase. Next week we take possession of the camp, it is very exciting.

Attila leaves almost all the administrative aspects of life to me, except for tax returns, a task I was responsible for my whole adult life until Attila took it over, to my great relief.

Wednesday was a cleaning day. The weather was mild and sunny, perfect for opening up Iris and getting started on a thorough wash down.

Below the front bunk there is storage, and in that storage area was a tarp, I believe it is the original tarp for the trailer, which would make it almost 40 years old. It was only when it was picked up to be carried outside that the overwhelming odour of mildew filled the trailer and our nostrils. The tarp was dry, but there were areas that were black with mildew, particularly around the grommets for the poles. Out it came and over the back clothes line it went. It received a heavy spraying of hydrogen peroxide to kill the mildew and spores. It will be left on the line for a week or so, to be rinsed by rain and snow, then bleached by the sun.

The awning for Iris. After several days in the rain, snow, and sunshine, it still smells like mildew. We will have to use bleach, I hate to, but I think we have to.
Awning

Because significant reaching and stretching were involved to reach the mildew under the front bunk, Attila did the grunt work with brush and cloth. When it was finished the hatches were left open to allow the area to dry, it looks great. After I mark where I want the to drill ventilation holes in the side of the bunk, Attila will drill them out, which should alleviate any further mildew issues in that area of the trailer.

I tackled the mildew on the ceiling around the vent opening. Weeks ago I had dismantled the interior section of the roof vent, exposing the wet and mildewed areas. The area had dried thoroughly, thanks to the tarp over the trailer which prevents further leaks. The inside area around the roof vent opening is now ready for the new roof vent to be installed.

The windows in the trailer were left open for the rest of the day, and by the time I went out after dark to close Iris up for the night, she there was only a hint of mildew odour. That should be taken care of during our next cleaning session, as there is one more area of mildew at the back of the trailer, where we had discovered the leak.

Another small “stitch in time” step taken. Electrical tape was used to cover a small opening in the fibreglass near the wheel well of the trailer. The little round hole was the size of a dime, which is supposedly big enough for a mouse to pass through. Wasps also might come in that way to make a nest. The way in is now blocked.

The new roof vent will be installed when there is a week of sunny warm weather. Then the tarp can be safely removed and a hole in the roof temporarily opened to the sky.

On Wednesday night we caught a second mouse in the basement. The second mouse is what I call a field mouse, while the first mouse we caught is what I call a house mouse. They are very different breeds. This says to me that we have an entry point in the house that really needs to be plugged up. But where! Attila’s theory is that they are coming through the attic and down the chimney frame, so that is where the first measures will be taken.

As I write there is a Grackle pecking away at the wood on the roof facia. I rise from my chair, unlock the front door and step out onto the landing. The Grackle flies off and out of site. As I watch her, I wonder how many generations of Grackles it will take before they forget about our roof as a nesting ground. Do Grackles have endless social memory? Will I be chasing Grackles away from my roof for the duration? I return to my chair and begin to type. The Grackle returns and up I get.

Earlier in the spring we killed quite a few wasps near that corner of the house. There are a lot of wasps here. We remove nests around the roof constantly. There are fewer now though, than when we first bought the place, so perhaps our efforts are diminishing the population. I surely hope so.

On the CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) front, I continue to watch my protein, potassium, and phosphorus consumption. The biggest intrusion in my diet so far is avoiding beans, potatoes, tomatoes, whole grains, and spinach. I am amazed at the number of condiments that contain phosphorus (phosphate). The salad dressing I have been enjoying on my salads uses it as a preservative, to my disappointment. I have several bottles of the salad dressing, bought on sale, which I will consume slowly, with small daily servings. Attila doesn’t like it, or he would eat it. Then I will move on to homemade salad dressing, which will contain none of the minerals I am trying to cut down on. Commercial products like salad dressing, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and the list goes on, use phosphates in their recipes. We don’t eat a lot of processed foods, but we do enjoy our condiments. I will be looking for kidney friendly recipes for all of these things. Even if I eventually find that my condition is not serious enough to necessitate big changes in diet, I think I will continue to avoid phosphates in food, knowing how much stress they put on the kidneys.

I find it interesting that at this point I feel no symptoms related to Chronic Kidney Disease, which from what I have been reading, is perfectly normal. I have my fingers crossed that it never develops to the point where I do feel symptoms.

When I went for my walk this morning I realized that it isn’t just Grackles who are enjoying the spring weather. There were lots of Chickadees, Robins, and Blue Jays flying from tree to tree, calling out to each other. The buds are just beginning to quicken on the maple trees. It was a beautiful mild morning out there, and sunny.

A Robin enjoying the sunshine and balmy weather in the back yard.
Robin

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Today Attila and I took a drive out to see the Rideau Camp. It was sunny off and on, after having snowed during the morning before we left. It was cold, with the wind it was very cold.

The trip was interesting as an alternate route was chosen. There was property for sale along the alternate route, near the Rideau Camp, and Attila wanted to have a look at it. The road in to the available property was pretty bad, the potholes were very large, but it wasn’t too far in. The land itself was half the price we paid for our camp, but 1/3 the size. It was wet, with standing pools of water along the road, and there was a ditch in front of the property that would necessitate putting in a culvert and a driveway. We had to put in a driveway like that at our Ancestral Camp, and it is a pricey project, increasing the actual price of the property by quite a bit. Attila was satisfied that we chose the right property when we bought our Rideau Camp!

We proceeded towards the Rideau Camp, parked, and took a stroll down to the water. The water level was quite high, and the wind felt bitter as it blew in across the lapping waves. After walking back to the car, we walked around checking out the drainage patterns on the property, which is easy to do at this time of year because there is a lot of runoff, and there are no leaves on the trees.

After eating our lunch in the car, where we were warm and cozy, we headed home so that Attila could sleep before he heads off to work tonight.

Sunday seems to be the day we venture out in the car to explore.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

10°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Friday 1 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 99.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 10.2°C
Dewpoint: 8.2°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: iWSW 15 km/h

-2°C
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Sunday 3 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -2.3°C
Dewpoint: -18.5°C
Humidity: 28%
Wind: W 20 gust 37 km/h
Wind Chill: -8

Quote

“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”
Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970

This is why the mass media is of no practical positive use to the human species.