Two Days Of Vacation Left

9:30 a.m.

Attila goes back to work on Monday, two days of renovation vacation left. How much he will get done over the next two days has yet to be determined.

When I arose last night at around 1:30 a.m., to use the facilities, Attila was still up and at it. I ventured into the garage to see how he was doing. There he was, sitting calmly just out of the rain, under the new rafters, smoking a cigarette, contemplating his handy work, and figuring out what needs to be done. I think he went to bed shortly after that, although I was asleep again, and did not hear him retire for the night.

Garage sheathingThe rafters and sheathing on three quarters of the roof, the last section of roof in the foreground, which came down with the assistance of a winch, and the last bit of the garage open to the sky.

Garage tar layersThe old roof had to be cut into sections, through more than an inch of tar based material (shingles and waterproof membranes), and two inch thick solid wood roof boards and supports. It took ten Sawzall blades, and a lot of pain, to cut the old roof into 56 sections, each weighing between 75 about 100 pounds. If that roof had been designed properly, those materials might well have lasted a lifetime… but the lack of adequate support, and inadequate slope, meant that no matter what kind of money, time, and materials were thrown into making that roof waterproof, it could not be made so. What a shame.

Garage old roof downAnd there we have it, the last sections of the old roof, sitting on the floor of the garage. These monsters had to be rolled into the dumpster. I am so glad that we decided on the dumpster, and that Attila does not have to drive these sections to the dump and unload them! When I got up this morning, all of these sections were out of the garage, loaded into the dumpster as I slept. Who needs elves when you have Attila!

This morning, at his request, I awoke Attila at 8:00 a.m. After relaxing with his morning coffee and a cigarette, he changed into his work clothes and got right to it again.

One of the advantages of having most of the rafters and sheathing installed, is that there is now a dry place for Attila to set up his equipment, saws etc. He and his equipment can work comfortably despite the rain. He has one more very long board to cut in the great outdoors, the equipment won’t setup properly in the garage to do that cut, then he can move the equipment indoors. Up until now, all renovations have required Attila to work out in the open, in the back yard. That meant he had to put away his saws and equipment every time it rained, and set them up again when the rain stopped. He won’t miss having to do that! It rained a little bit this morning, and it looks like more is on the way.

I’m the “runner” again today, making another trip to the building centre, and to the grocery store, Attila has lists for both.

Last night’s dinner, Instant Pot Sweet & Sour Chicken with Vegetables and Rice, was a big success. I am using ground beef for tonight’s dinner, Instant Pot Sweet & Sour Beef with vegetables and rice. I have a quarter of a cabbage that I will shred and add to the dish, in addition to the frozen mixed vegetables.

6:09 p.m.

The Instant Pot has been in use every day since it came into the house. Tonight’s dinner was Sweet & Sour Beef & Cabbage With Rice and Vegetables. Hearty fare. I included five garlic scapes from our garden, which I snipped into pieces with the scissors before adding them to the dish, very tasty they were.

As I was eating my dinner, Attila was hard at work, adding the first sheet of plywood sheathing to the open quarter of the roof, having installed all the rafters earlier today. Now he is working on the next sheet, having stopped for a bite of dinner, of which I am glad because it was still hot. He loved the Sweet & Sour Beef dish, asked me to write down the recipe so that we could enjoy it again.

I have been making up recipes every night for our dinners. Such fun. Now that I have the timing and proportions of dry to liquid figured out, the sky is the limit. We both like rice, so I have been focusing on rice dishes. Tomorrow though, I am thinking of making a Chicken Cacciatore With Pasta, making up a one pot recipe for the Instant Pot. I will precook the chicken though, it is important that it is thoroughly cooked. Since the chicken will be pre-cooked, the cooking time can be safely based on the time needed to cook the pasta. My Tuna Noodle Casserole was a success, so I am optimistic that we will like this Chicken Cacciatore.

The migration of this site and others to a new domain host was so very easy. But, at this end, on this computer, I have been having issues with DNS caches, and after posting an entry, I lose access to my sites from this computer. There is a tedious fix, in Terminal, which I have to perform each time I post an entry. As far as I can tell, only I have this issue! The iMac, our entertainment unit, has no issues with accessing the sites, so I can still get in and do what I need to do on the iMac. Eventually I’ll figure out a fix on the fly, and  it will be so organic that I won’t even notice that I am doing it.  UPDATE: I couldn’t resolve this issue myself, it has to do with software on my computer tripping security measures at the host’s end, and locking me out as a result.  I will pursue this issue with the software developer, of the softeware I am using to upload the entries.

Renovations are slow going, they aren’t like new builds, one is always dealing with decisions made at other times, by other people, in other contexts. The garage is a funny affair. It is narrower at the front than at the back. It sits on a concrete foundation that was not poured square. The roof was almost flat, ergo the almost two inches of added waterproof membranes and shingles to try to keep it from leaking. All of these things complicate the job of renovating the roof.

It has been drizzling off and on all day today, but that hasn’t slowed Attila down at all. It isn’t very warm either, but he is working hard enough that he is quite comfortable in a t-shirt. My idea to run duct tape along the joins in the sheathing worked great, no leaks!

Attila plans on working into the night again tonight. He has set himself the goal of finishing framing in and making weather proof the small section of roof that is beside the new garden shed. That section must be designed to take into account the eves of the garden shed roof. It is a fiddly bit.

I noticed Chippy The Chipmunk clamouring up a board and hopping into the garage. The little monster thinks it is his. That will have to be dealt with once the roof gables, and the roof by the garden shed, have been secured. Until then, there will be no keeping him/her out.

I always thought chipmunks were cute, until I had to compete with them for possession of Mist Cottage. The rascally Chip n’ Dale were on the money, when it comes to chipmunk personalities.

Tomorrow we must go through the items in the garage to determine what must go into the dumpster, as it will be picked up on Monday morning. The old roof and all the water damaged items will be carted away. Worth every penny.

8:15 p.m.

Garage roof sheathing completeThe sheathing is done! This picture was taken before Attila applied duct tape to seal over the joins, to keep water out until the metal roof is installed. Oh happy day, this is a sight for sore eyes.

Garage roof sheathing complete interiorAnd here is it from the interior of the garage, high and dry! The old roof was level with the left wall, this photo shows how much Attila raised the right side of the roof, to create a much needed slope, to shed water and snow. It smells like new lumber in there! Wow!

I think this garage, and the rotting finished basement full of chipmunks and mice, were the reason this house sat empty for years. Mould and mildew are smelly and horrid. When we bought Mist Cottage the smell of animals, mould, and mildew hit your senses full force as you entered the front door. It was disgusting. It improved over time, bit by bit, so that by the time we moved here in 2015 the interior air was sweet. But until this week there were very bad odours in the garage. Fixing the underlying problems has been a huge amount of work. The basement and the garage are fixed now. We gutted the basement within weeks of purchasing the house, filling a dumpster with the contents, and shingles as we also put a new roof on the house. We hired a contractor to dig around the foundation of the basement, lay drainage tiles, and installed a membrane to protect the concrete from water in the soil. And now, at last, the old garage roof, so thick with hopeless shingles and waterproof membranes, has been ripped off, one small section at a time, to be replaced with a lovely metal roof, with a slope adequate to shed rain and snow. Mist Cottage is now, at last, structurally secure. If we didn’t do another renovation, we could live here quite comfortably.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 6:00 PM EDT Saturday 23 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.2°C
Dew point: 14.9°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: NE 10 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Out of the strain of the Doing,
Into the peace of the Done.”
Julia Louise Woodruff
1833 – 1891

Little Bits

Congratulations are in order for Rymal, who recently took possession of a new apartment. Sending good wishes for you in your new home!

During our renovation vacation we managed one recreational day. We sort of blew it though. We started out with a picnic lunch, heading for a provincial park for a hike. However, I just wanted to peek at the fabric store as we passed by, as there are NO fabric stores close to our country house, and we would be driving right by one, an opportunity not to be missed. We took the scenic route, after making a wrong turn, and enjoyed passing farms and forest.

A farm with a long driveway, along our route to the fabric store.

Well, while I was selecting the fabric for the curtains in the kitchen and dining room, Attila was out exploring the shopping plaza. When all was said and done at the fabric store, Attila hastened me over to a discount store he had found. Wow, we found a great Christmas gift for Terra and Lares, and a few items for ourselves too. By the time we left the discount store it was too late in the day to head to a provincial park.

We were hungry, so we found a park close to the shopping area and headed over there to eat our picnic lunch. It was lovely, we managed to walk for several hours on the paths, by the shore of Lake Ontario. We did not reach our original destination, but we had a lovely time at the park anyway.

We came across this lovely spot, the bench overlooks Lake Ontario.

Last Saturday I worked, an hour away from home. When I got back after 1 p.m. Attila loaded the car with some wood for Terra and Lares dining room, and our luggage, and off we drove to the little house in the city.

When we arrived Lares was there, and had been there all day. He installed a heat pump for us, and finished the job around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Lares is fully qualified to install furnaces and air conditioners. What a whirlwind he is! We did not expect to have the unit in for weeks, working on it a bit at a time at each overnight visit. And there we have it, one overnight visit and the installation is complete!

We now have a dual heating system: an oil furnace and a heat pump. The heat pump will also provide air conditioning. It works like a charm AND we can monitor the interior temperature and humidity of the little house, from the country house! That will come in handy, keeping an eye on things during the times when we are not there.

Of course, we won’t need to use the heat pump for a while yet. Without the aid of the heating system, the interior temperature of the little house is holding steady at 20C, which is perfect. The heat pump will operate when the temperature falls a bit, and heat is needed, but not a lot. In the dead of winter the oil furnace will be providing the heat, but it need not come on at all until it gets very cold outside. We will be monitoring our use of hydro carefully, to assess the hoped for savings. The price of electricity to run the heat pump compression chamber and fan is the only cost involved in heating the house with the heat pump. Electricity costs a lot, but then so does fuel oil, so it remains to be seen how much this will keep our bills down.

We arrived home last night, after 10 p.m., it was an awfully long drive in the dark, and the heavy rain. Attila called out to me from the country house, as he unlocked the door, that the power was out. We have no idea how long it had been out, and it was still out when I went to bed. Attila stayed up late to burn a small fire in the little wood stove, just to take the chill out of the air in the interior of the house. He said the power came back on around midnight.

While we were at the little house I did the usual stocking up on food supplies. This time I bought ten pound bags of vegetables. Three ten pound bags could be had for $5.00, a very reasonable price. I bought three bags of onions for $5.00, three bags of potatoes for $5.00, and two bags of carrots and one bag of beets for $5.00.

The vegetables from the store where I made this purchase are often near the end of their best shelf life, so they need to be dealt with quickly, so as not lose any to spoilage. So today I used my 21 1/2 quart pressure canner to cook ten pounds of beets, and ten pound of carrots. All of the cooked vegetables were flash frozen, and bagged, for winter meals.

This is a lot of work. The cost of the vegetables is about 37 cents a kilogram, and because we already own the freezer, and the pressure canner, and I have enough time to devote to processing the vegetables, we are saving a pretty penny. It doesn’t cost much to process the vegetables, the beets took 15 minutes, the carrots took 4 minutes, and the cost of freezing is negligible, as the fuller the freezer, the more efficiently it runs.

I still have another ten pounds of carrots to process. After that I will be ready to can some more Chili Beans for Attila. The Chili Beans are a great success! Attila eats them with hot peppers, for a snack. He has already eaten two one litre jars of the canned beans, so I will be kept busy keeping up with his appetite!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 3:00 PM EDT Monday 22 September 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 10.6°C
Dewpoint: 3.3°C
Humidity: 60%
Wind: WNW 18 gust 37 km/h


“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

Renovation Vacation: The Table And A Very Big Hole

Well here we are at the little house in the city! Attila has a bit of a vacation now that the summer season is over. We drove down last Saturday night, August 30th. Since arriving we have been shopping, shopping, shopping, making up for the last year spent in the bush, far from any reasonably priced retail establishments.

On my “must have” list was a self-propelled lawn mower, so that I can handle cutting the grass myself at the little house in the city. We found a good one on sale, after a day’s shopping. I will be giving that a try when the grass next needs cutting.

We purchased a bottom of the line LED television, to replace the monstrous CRT television that had been given to us, a discard from the kids. Dropping the CRT unit off for recycling at the Restore was a perfect excuse to shop there. Attila loves rummaging around, and purchases hard to find screws and nails and hardware, by the bagful. A trip to a different Restore allowed us to drop off electronics that the kids discarded in our direction, and that we had no use for. Attila had a shopping basket full of hardware, once again.

Apart from mowing the lawn, and weeding the garden, our only domestic project until today was to add the casters to the bottom of the metal topped table, paint the wood, and install it in the kitchen. The kitchen table that we have been using is now a work table placed between the refrigerator and the range, it works a treat. The metal topped table can be moved to the living room when we have company for dinner, allowing better seating room, and freeing up valuable kitchen space for food preparation.

We were not expecting to put any new windows into the little house in the city, in the foreseeable future. The old windows, particularly at the south end of the house, are energy inefficient, and almost impossible to open and close. The one in the dining area of the kitchen is huge, six feet wide, with only two panes of glass, so that opening that window means shifting a three foot by four foot pane, or pain :), of glass. I can do it, but often only after several tries.

Attila, during a middle-of-the-night-snacking-session, was reading the local paper while he ate, and found a deal that had to be investigated. Windows, double glazed, gently used, at a fraction of the price of new.

Our day trip yesterday, Wednesday, was off to the construction yard, where the used windows were on view, to have a look around. Attila had all his measurements with him. We found three suitable windows, two to replace the large dining area window, and one to replace the window above the kitchen sink. That leaves nine more windows to replace.

This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, Attila began the process of replacing the dining area window. Tomorrow he will tackle replacing the kitchen window. He is beginning with the dining area window today because tomorrow promises thunderstorms; the kitchen window is under the roof of the verandah and can therefore the work to replace it can be carried on in dry conditions, even if it is raining outside.

hole in the wall of the dining room after the large window was removed

The hole left when Attila removed the old horizontal slide window in the dining room. What we find truly amazing is that this little house, a senior citizen of a house, was built with recycled wood. You can see here that the wood used for the wall studs was not new when the house was built. And yet, the house is a sturdy little thing!
It was also interesting that the awning was attached to the window frame, and not the exterior wall. This meant that Attila had to detach the awning and support it with boards until the new window could be installed, and the awning reattached.

It is going to be very hot in the house today, and tomorrow! With a large gaping hole in the wall, at the south end of the house, sitting just above the black shingled roof of the garage, the heat entering the house will be significant, on this hot and sunny day. I will have to spend a lot of time outside in the shade! Attila says he is not adversely affected by heat and humidity, so he will comfortably carry on with his window replacement project.

Me, I cleaned the new used windows, moved bedroom furniture here and there until it suited me, washed and dried dishes, and puttered around looking to make small but significant changes in the furniture and storage layout of our little house.

metal top table in front of large dining area window

Here is our refinished metal top table, set for a pancake and peaches breakfast. The plates, Attila brought those home from the dump one day, not a full set, but in perfect condition and we love them.
The colour of the table base is the same as the kitchen cabinets, and the table legs end in lockable casters, so this table goes anywhere with ease, and stays there when you want it to.
Note the window, which is a 1960s renovation, the house is much older than that. That window has an aluminum frame, is cracked, lets in the heat in the summer, and the cold in the winter. It is also very hard to open and close.
The view from this window is lovely though, towards the back yard is a tree, towards the front yard more trees and a bit of the quiet street. And sky, lots and lots of sky! This is the south side of the house, always bright and cheery.

Worldly Distractions


Forgot to collect this info!  It has been nice though, until today when it became hot and muggy!


“You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living. They don’t seem to see that we must all lift together and pull together. ”
Henry Ford

Wouldn’t it be grand to be able to talk to Henry Ford, to find out what assumptions lie behind this particular statement.  I know what it would mean if I said it, but Henry Ford might have meant something very different than what I understand.