Back At It

We have had rain at regular intervals for the last little while, and the gardens are lush and flourishing. I cut peonies for vases in the living room and on the kitchen window sill, and love to look out into the back yard and see the Yellow Hawkweed dancing in the wind; we have had a lot of wind lately.

Peonies from my garden.
Peony june
Yellow Hawkweed in the back yard. I won’t let Attila cut the grass, not until the Hawkweed stops flowering!
Hawkweed June 2016

We are finally settled enough to approach items on our renovation list. It has been a long time coming, about a year since we tackled anything of note in the line of renovations. It was a year ago that I returned to the country house and we began the work of readying the place to put it up for sale. The summer was spent at the country house, keeping it spic and span and ready for viewing, and there were a lot of viewings. When it finally sold we had two weeks notice to get packed and move out. We managed that, taking Attila’s vacation time to do it, and squeezed our belongings into tiny Mist Cottage. During the fall, autumn, and winter, Attila first worked at his old job, living in Tank; then worked a temporary worker on rotating shifts, near Mist Cottages; then worked as a full time employee on rotating shifts; then worked as a full time employee working night shifts; and finally as of one month ago he is working as a full time employee working day shifts, with weekends off. Working days with weekends off has literally transformed our world, for the better.

Of course, all through this time we were busy at home either selling the old place, moving, or working on downsizing at Mist Cottage. We also searched for, found, and purchased the Rideau Camp this spring. We have accomplished much, but none of it was in the line of home renovation. Now we are well situated to continue with the projects on our list.

Attila and I both agreed that the priority project for this summer was to tear down and rebuild the garden shed. We decided also that this would be accomplished in the month of June, the worst month for biting insects at the Rideau Camp and outdoors in general. So, to kick off the renovation season Attila ordered the lumber for the shed this past week.

Yesterday when Attila got home from work he was raring to go on the shed project. After a quick supper, which I had prepared in the morning in the crockpot, he headed out to the back yard to begin, and down came the shed.

The garden shed yesterday afternoon. Note the door, a silly little thing cut from particle board. A previous owner loved particle board, and poorly understood its properties. The floor of the back deck, which we tore down, was particle board. It was worth life and limb to tread on it, it was so rotten! The door of the shed must have been built about the same time.
Shed June Reno 1
The shed with the roof and siding removed. Oodles of mildew from the leaky roof and the earth that had crept up the siding on the left side. Attila said there were mushrooms growing along the bottom sill plate there. The front left corner was eaten away by carpenter ants, long gone now.
Shed June Reno 2
Attila dismantling the roof, some of the wood was rotted right through.
Shed June Reno 3
Pulling down the walls. I found it interesting that Attila left the entire contents of the shed in place as he tore it apart. Nothing was damaged, which included the large panes of glass from the former dining room window.
Shed June Reno 4
In response to Bex and Wendy’s interest, I have added this photo of Attila’s progress. The old shed of this morning, no more! Attila decided to move all the contents of the shed this morning, to make it easier to move around on the concrete pad that will be the floor. He actually had to shovel earth/mushroom/rotten wood debris off the concrete, it was quite a mess. We also found items we had been looking for, like the old plastic toilet seat that will work wonderfully for our composting toilet at the Rideau Camp.
Shed June Reno 5

Attila, at my insistence, covered the contents of the shed overnight with a plastic sheet. My adamance was a good thing, because when we got up this morning it was raining cats and dogs!

The lumber and door for the new shed arrived early this morning. As soon as the rain let up, Attila began to set aside the salvageable materials from the old shed. The roof rafters that are sound will become a bin for our yard waste compost. The insulation will be cleaned, sanitized, and used somewhere in the house. There wasn’t much else worth reusing, so I researched methods of disposal. We cannot fit this much construction waste in a vehicle, so I am researching companies that will take it away. I would like to get rid of it before the Hawkweed stops blooming. I don’t want the construction waste to kill the grass beneath it. Attila seldom pays attention to these sorts of niceties, but I do. I find it expedient to keep adding my two cents worth to the project.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 12:00 PM EDT Saturday 11 June 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 15.2°C
Dewpoint: 13.1°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: S 16 km/h


“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”
George Washington
1732 – 1799

When I read this I think of those with over 100 “friends” on Facebook, which has largely replaced face-to-face interactions between people. And I wonder at those with thousands of “friends” on Facebook. It seems the meaning of the word friend has been drastically altered by technology.

Depth Perception

Yesterday I looked up from my computer screen, and out the window into the trees. I was shocked to find that I felt gratitude, gratitude for visual depth. Yesterday I noticed for the first time, on a conscious level, that I miss depth, I long for it. And not just visual depth. I also hanker after depth of meaning in my day to day life.

After waiting 21 days for news of the final inspection and approval of our driveway, I decided to call the Township and inquire. All of my interactions with the Township office have been pleasant, to date. This call was no exception. The Administrator explained that the final inspection had been carried out, the driveway approved, and that the cheque for our deposit refund would be “cut” and mailed out.

With the driveway approved, we can begin to landscape around it. We do have this Sunday off work, so hopefully we will be able to get over to the camp and get busy!

I have been having the time of my life, looking at different cabin ideas over at Cabin Porn (quite the name!). I don’t enjoy the architect designed examples very much, although beautiful, they are beyond the reach of most ordinary folk, and so of little interest to me. All that glitters is not gold. I love the cabins that ordinary people have built, used as sheds or lived in, all over the world. The bonus for me is that a few of the ideas I had for our shed at the camp have been used by others, and there are images of how those ideas look in real life. It is easier to make decisions when one can see an example of an end result.

We plan on using found materials for the shed, to the greatest degree possible. However, there are structural practicalities that will inspire the outlay of some cash, such as pressure treated wood for the foundation and floor joists. I am having fun looking for ways to use plastic water bottles as roofing, without much practical success. There are good ideas out there for this type of roofing, but for climates that have relatively little snow. The more than eight feet of snow we receive each year presents a roofing challenge. I did see a lot of water bottle privacy fences though, I might give that a try.

While I was rummaging around on the internet, I ran into a little blurb about masonry heaters. I highly recommend masonry heaters, having heated exclusively with this technology for a decade. We did not opt for the oven, and we haven’t missed it. There are also ways of heating water with the masonry heater, another feature we did not opt for. Because we tore out an old, inefficient fireplace and retrofitted with the masonry heater, there were a lot of structural issues to consider, issues that are easily resolved in new builds.

We have perfect summer weather today! The country house is heaven in the summer, with the trees rustling around the house, windows open, bright mornings, long evenings… In the summer I don’t want to sell the country house, and in the winter I don’t want to live in the country house. The summer months can lull me into wanting to stay, the winter months, all six of them, will slowly turn the desire to stay into ice.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:00 PM EDT Friday 25 July 2014
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 22.1°C
Dewpoint: 11.1°C
Humidity: 49%
Wind: W 17 km/h


“The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.”
Frank Lloyd Wright (1869 – 1959)