May 23, 2010

Yardwork 2.0

It's a jungle out there. I've turned into a fair-weather camper and given the forecast for this long weekend, I stayed home. There is a lot to do here anyway. Like explore the yard and use up some of my good dirt. The sheet composting was a success, and there was enough on the tomato bed to share with other parts of the yard. Besides, I'm waiting on delivery of a cubic yard of soil from the big yellow bag people (should be here tomorrow, for the shade garden) so I had most of the weekend to kill so I weeded, identified and relocated assorted greenery.

In the last house, most of the yard was deck, which meant that container gardening was the way to go. I won't need that many containers here, but I did decide to keep a few of my favourites, like these.

This little guy is only a couple of feet tall...for now.

There are three crab apple trees in the back - exciting if you like to make jelly. There was one tree at the old house, but last year the blossoms were hailed on and there weren't enough apples for jelly.

Some judicious weeding in the beds that border the back yard turned up at least four bunches of rhubarb. I wonder if thinking about rhubarb coffee cake right now is akin to counting your eggs before they hatch?

Peonies. So I've been advised. Thanks Mom. I wouldn't have known. Neither would you before I cleaned out all the creeping bellflower which my neighbour advises is a pain in his ass. He says he's spent ten years trying to eradicate it from his yard. We, of course, have heaps of it. Literally, I made a heap of it after weeding it out of all of the beds. It's really rather pretty but amazingly invasive.

Some sort of lily. I think. Erring on the side of caution and assuming everything is poisonous - this means there is absolutely none on the side of the yard where the dog run is.

I'm not sure why, but the bush at the front of the house was squished into the left hand corner of this planter. I spent the better part of an hour digging and undoing roots from the stone and generally feeling like I was trying to pull out an uncooperative loose tooth. Then I went and got my brawn out of the garage. Men. Can't live without 'em. Unless maybe you have a backhoe. I relocated the bush (don't ask me what kind) to the main part of the planter. Then removed some other kind of lily that was in the very shady and sheltered east side yard and put them out here - it faces north so they'll get a bit more light but not enough to kill them.

Hawthorn tree in the front yard. It smells good.

Back to the back yard. Some sort of rose. There are a few others that I found courtesy of the thorns. Somehow thorns and curly hair just go together.

I put the squash outside before it ate my screen. I grew these from seed in my dining room and the tendrils they were throwing out were crawling through the window screen.

And chives! Bunches and bunches of them. All relocated to a space of their very own.

Stay tuned for the tomato bed and the shade garden!

May 21, 2010

This should cover it.

A few weeks ago in a post about the entry-way, I mentioned that in addition to making a radiator cover for us, Hammersmith Custom Metal is also crafting our hood fan cover for the new gas stove. The owner, Mike, has been extremely helpful with us (and patient with me while I changed my mind, again) and we have finalized a design. He sketched it out, but the sketch won't scan well. For those of you who can visualize, here's some fodder:

I'm not a fan of the squared-off pointy corners, but this is the 'colour' I want. Stainless steel with copper trim.

So, imagine the above combination, but in more of this style, with the beveled corners. It will be installed between the two kitchen windows - and Hammersmith does that part too!

May 17, 2010

Kitchen Basics

In all it's glory, here's the left half (if you are facing the windows) of the kitchen. This was taken before we moved in. An attractive piece of work, no? We recently had the window in the almost-finished hub room replaced, so we replaced the two kitchen windows at the same time, since the kitchen is the next major project.

There wasn't really anything terribly wrong with the kitchen windows in terms of construction. Wood casing, the joints were still tight. Old fashioned storm windows that you clip on from the outside (unless you drop them from the top of a ladder first). But the glass is definitely not efficient. The kitchen overlooks the back yard and faces south. It also sits on top of the boiler room. It gets pretty toasty.

Just to whet your imagination a bit, by the time we're done, the plan is to put the gas range right in between the two windows, essentially under the wall shelves you can see in the pic above. We're having a stainless and copper hood fan cover built to go over the range. The wall where the stove is right now divides the dining room from the kitchen. We'll take it out and replace it with a peninsula, so that the kitchen is more open to the dining room.

Here's what it looked like a couple of weeks ago, with no window.

And from the outside. Sorry folks, this gorgeous light fixture and its twin on the other side of the kitchen area already spoken for.

Presto! New Window! The window in the hub room is the same style (and in the hub room, this is a bonus because the old window didn't open - we can now get a cross breeze, whew!).

And here's the new window on the right side of the kitchen. The corrugated plastic? No, that's not our roof, it's part of the sunroom roof.

There have been a couple of other developments in the kitchen, although they are temporary. We bought the  new dishwasher and rather than storing it in the garage or the dining room with the other new appliances, we actually installed it! Not in its permanent location, but at least we can use it. And since we had to empty out the right side of the kitchen for the window installers, we decided to move the new fridge in from the dining room. It's supposed to be a built in model, so we've used the hardware it came with to bolt it to the floor, and Norm built a header over it - this way it won't tip when you open the door. Again, not its permanent location, but now I have a fridge that doesn't freeze half of what I put in, nor does it make a sound like the purring of a cat. A very large and hungry cat. Pretty, huh?

If I was inside the new fridge - with the door open, of course - this is what I'd see. The new fridge will actually replace the cupboards and counter you see on the left side of this shot. The wall where the old fridge is will be coming down, or opened up, so we can see into the living room and the fireplace.
Here's a better shot of where the fridge will eventually go. We'll have a bank of cupboards and a pantry, with an opening for the microwave (which of course is in the dining room right now...) and another opening for the fridge. We still don't have any takers for the cabinets and we don't have anything we can repurpose them if you know somebody who just hasn't left 80's kitchen design behind yet, send them my way.

May 14, 2010


Not quite all the way better, but almost. Rory that is. Attitude and energy are all the way there. His coat still needs a bit of work and he could still use an eensie bit more meat on his bones (but maybe Tamzin thinks different?). And his breath is icky. Not that it ever smelled, well, delicious, but it's not the usual Rory smell. Getting better though. All in all I figure he well enough to start tracking classes on Sunday. Here are some pics from tonight's roar through the park.

This is my favourite shot of the night. I had Norm hang on to him while I walked away and then called him. "Coming Momma!!!!" Actually, I kind of hear the theme for the Six Million Dollar Man playing in the background.

I love the ball in this shot. Dogs are forever hovering over their sticks and a Ridgeback really wants anything at all to do with them. Rory just wants to run and wrestle, and found a fellow willing to give up his pretty orange ball to do just that.

Some Ridgeballet.

"Ball? What ball? Oh, THAT ball. Well, you gotta get through me first..."

I am rarely quick enough to catch Rory with all four feet in the air. Frankly, the look on the Golden's face is priceless. And there's something about a dog off of the ground that makes the it look like it's 3D, like I just pasted him onto the image of a Golden who doesn't know which way to run. No worries, he wasn't ambushing her, they had already been playing. Molly just picked a bad time to stand still.

Again...looks like I just pasted Rory on top of this. Sideways, to boot. Boink!

I enlarged this one...not sure if it will show, but there's a great puff of dust under Rory's front left paw. The only one on the ground. I'm actually not sure how he doesn't go ass over teakettle when he runs like this. Poor Molly...she just wants to prance. And she's not even paying attention to Rory's bucking bronco impression.

"Shhhh....wait...there's something in there! Stand back Momma, it could be The Dreaded Magpie!"

As neat as the action shots can be, once I've downloaded them I spend most of my time enlarging them and giggling hysterically at the look on his face. Exuberance, sheer, pure, and simple. What's not to love?

See? Life's good. As long as you can keep your tongue from smacking you in the face.

And why the tracking classes? Because unless there is another dog around to play with, Rory spends most of his time doing this:

May 4, 2010


First the important stuff: Rory's doing great. Awesome, actually. So good in fact, that I didn't feel bad for chastising him when I bent over to tie my shoe and he smacked me in the head with his tail because he was bouncing around in excitement. Gosh, I missed that while he was away :)

Second about moving house: I lived for 17 years in my last house. When we moved last August I called Enmax to disconnect my account at the old house and set up an account for the new place. For those of you who don't know, Enmax supplies our electricity, water, recycling, garbage and "other" services (we'll get to the other later). First thing I was told was that I'd have to pay a security deposit of twice the average monthly bill - so we're talking a total of $500 here - because I'd had late payments. Really?? How is that even possible kind sir, when YOU TAKE THE MONEY OUT OF MY BANK AUTOMATICALLY every month?!!! Oh, ok, you've checked and now I don't have to pay a security deposit? Well that's just wonderful then thanks so much. Fast forward a few months and I'm still not receiving a monthly bill for the new house. Nice girl that I am, I called them FOUR times between October and February to let them know that I appreciated their kindness in sending me bills for the old house WHICH WAS SOLD and to tell them how much I admired them because they were smart enough to send these bills to me at my new address. Oh, and by the way, could I get a bill for the actual house I live in now? Each time I called I was told the bill had gone to "Adjustments" and it would be 4 - 6 weeks before I would get a bill. "Adjustments" is obviously a dark closet with no door, just a slot, where they stick accounts they don't know what to do with. Not to worry they tell me. I can simply ignore the bills I keep getting for the old house and when the bill for the new place arrives, they'll accept installments and won't charge me interest. I finally got a bill near the end of March. I sent them a chunk of money. I called them the other day because I didn't get another bill at the end of April. Oh, the bill went out on April 26th? Okay, it should be here any day then. Can you tell me how much it was for? No? It's locked? What's locked? The bill is locked on your system because it's being ADJUSTED??? Seriously.

I got the bill today. Here's how it plays out. There's a balance forward that doesn't at all match the last amount minus the payment that I sent them (and the payment I sent them doesn't show and that's dumb, but I know they got it because the balance forward is actually less than my calculations told me; but of course that's also suspect since I don't know how it got to be less). Anyway, let's call the balance forward $10. Then there are the charges for March, let's call them $2. So, I owe them $12, right? Nope, I owe them $17. Into the amount due they've also added in something called "installment payment" let's call it $5 which brings the total amount due to $17 please pay now or we'll charge you interest. I'm no math whiz, but if I owed them $10, plus now I owe them $2 for services in March I should owe them $12. If I send them $17 like they're asking for then they will owe me $5. WTF?? On top of this, I'm checking the breakdown of charges for March: electricity yup, water yup, wastewater and drainage yup, waste and recycling yup, and other. Other??? Other what? $9.10 worth of other. I'm giving serious consideration to issuing invoices and charging for "other". I'll start on this block and then work my way north. Heck, it works for them. Turns out other is interest. Uh huh. Interest. You don't send me a bill for seven months, can't tell me anything about my account because it's either being adjusted or it's locked and now you want to charge me interest? If I hadn't been looking at this over a Corona with supper, it would have driven me to drink.

I'm going to tell you a little story - just in case you hadn't read enough already. And a bare few of you know this about me already; for the rest of you: get ready for a sharing moment. When I was a little girl, I always pictured me living on my own in a one room cabin. By myself. For whatever reason in my imagination (maybe my parents had trouble with their utility bills?) my light source in this cabin consisted of flashlights strung from the ceiling. I can't exactly explain the stove in the corner, maybe it was wood, or gas. Whatever. I also didn't consider the logistics of keeping myself supplied with batteries. Also whatever. I think my little-kid imagination was an omen. And in my current state of frustration I think flashlights as ambiance or task lighting deserve a chance. In fact, I would call Enmax and cancel my account but they'd probably send me a bill.