Wet

It’s been a very wet month.

Over the past three or four weeks we have been receiving an average of three inches of rain each week. The average yearly rainfall here is 36 inches. The summers see very little precipitation. Most of it falls between October and May. Ten to twelve inches in a month is still twice the usual.

What we have not had is any snow. The last two winters we saw more than normal amounts of snow. This time last winter we had several inches of snow on the ground.

Hand in hand with the rain instead of snow theme is the temperature. Only three frost days so far, and wandering the yard the other day here is what I found for a New Year’s surprise.

And they’re off…

I sit surrounded by toiletries.  Yesterday we emptied the bathroom as the official kickoff of the whole house repainting project.  By the time we are done, probably in early January, we will have painted all the rooms inside.  

This is more of a decorating decision as opposed to a necessity.  Some of the walls do have the odd ding and there are a few suspicious ‘I want to get my deposit back’ repairs done by one of the renters over the years.  Personally I wish they would have left the repairs undone.  I would have been less work for me to fix the ding then it will be to fix their attempt at a patch and paint.

We could easily finish the project sooner but the living room and dining room have wallpaper to remove and that is always a crap shoot.  I once had to remove wallpaper from unpainted drywall.  Lots of work, lots of patching.  We are hosting Christmas supper this year and have decided to wait until after the supper before starting the wallpaper removal.  We will paint these rooms in-between World Junior Hockey games.  

We tried a new paint formulation for the bathroom.  Benjamin Moore has a matte finish bathroom paint the store talked us into.  Benjamin Moore is our favourite paint but I would have not normally used a matte finish.  

First coat – looked like a primed wall
Second coat – looked like a first coat
Third coat – looked good and felt normal going on.

I do not usually need three coats on a wall.  I am not sure if this is the paint or the wall.  I am putting white over a colour but the regular Regal and Aura higher sheens cover better in my experience.  I guess I will know soon enough as the bedrooms will be next and we will probably use a slightly higher sheen.  

Keeping busy

I finally got around to reupholstering the ottoman.  The original cover was  vinyl faux leather and as vinyl is prone to do was starting to wear down to the base fabric at the corners.  This past summer I redid the dining table chairs and we bought enough fabric at that time to do the ottoman too.  Not a big project.

Something else I have been working on this week is a rock wall.  I have done a little bit of rock work before, some deck steps at the lake and a dry stack flower bed, but this is my first mortared wall.  All the hours of Tetris coming to use now!

More winter prep

This summer we spent a day cleaning the bbq and the smoker.  Wow.  We did not realize how much mildew was growing on and in them.  We did note how bad the bbq cover had gotten.  We now suspect that the covers actually made the problem worse.

I recently was lucky enough to have access to some salvage metal roofing.  I scavenged enough to be able to put up another rain shelter this time for the cookers.

I have one more project I would like to get to.  The recycling is currently in under a tarp roof in the back yard.  This is a leftover arrangement from when we bought the property.  The roof works fine enough but is really low, like 40″ low.  I have a bit of metal roof left and I think I will put a new, higher roof over the recycling.  It would be a good additional to the new gate I put in to shorten the hike when taking it to the street on pickup days.

Winters coming

Since we have not built our car port yet I’ve been putting up temporary solutions to keep the convertible out of the rain for the winter.  Last year it was a couple tarps, some clamps, a lot of rope, my quick support poles, and a couple of trees. It worked, but not pretty.

This year it is improved. Still a temporary solution but a spent a little money  to avoid people thinking I was starting a new tent city.  I found a design some guys use at Burning Man called a monkey hut.  Pretty simply and surprisingly stable.  We’ll have to see what it does after the first big snow.

Quiet Days

It’s a cool and rainy day today.  Coffee on the deck this morning was a quiet and foggy experience.  Very beautiful.  

This afternoon we are just chilling.  Kate and Anna McGarrigle are soulfully playing in the headphones as I alternate between my quest to finish the Internet and enjoying the view of the forest out the window.

The first large harvest of tomatoes is on the counter, almost ready for us to start salsa.  Probably tomorrow.  If it goes quick we will likely make a batch of cheese as well.  We picked up the supplies for both yesterday and cheese is fast.

As I type Kate and Anna give way to the Seekers.  iTunes seems to be in cahoots with the weather to get me to have a nap. I shall fight the urge.  Maybe a bit of guitar practise before a shower and then off to supper for Saturday date night.

I highly recommend retirement.

Oh, the joys

Last night the septic alarm went off.  

<Doom music> Dum dum dummmm </Doom music>

All I could remember was during the buying process the inspector saying you never want to hear that.  All I could do at the time was shut off the alarm.

This morning with the help of a service tech on the phone I managed to find out the trouble.  Blocked effluent filter between the tank and the field.  Turned out to be a fairly simple fix, just had to remove the filter and hose it out.  

Mmm, nothing like working with sewage.  Oh the joys of country living.

It’s in the air

The last few days have been magnificent fall days.  Yes, I said it.  Fall.  Certainly not Hallowe’en fall but you can sense it.  The air has a different feel.  The leaves are just starting to think about turning. The garden is getting closer to done.

Speaking of the garden, the Early Girl tomatoes are ripening and I have been picking a handful every day.  They are amazing, the meatiest tomatoes I have ever grown.

The Manitoba tomatoes are slower, with just a hint of colour change on a few that catch the most sun.  The plants are HUGE!  So heavy that the wire cages have been bent right over.  

I was speaking to my neighbour the other day and their tomatoes have been done and picked for weeks already.  They grow against the south facing wall of their house, while we grow in beds in a small clearing in the woods.  The extra sun makes a big difference.  Our yard is much cooler and planting wise a few weeks slower than those with full sun.  The trade off is my house is cool even after a week of 34°C summer days without air conditioning. 

Peppers finally appeared but it is apparent that they will still be a bust this year.  Very few bells and no jalapeños.  Very odd since last year I grew the best I ever have in the same dirt.

Salvage Lumber

Someone I know asked if I could build them a firewood shelter using a big stack of old wood that was piled up beside their workshop.  This was wood left behind by a previous owner,  most of it milled on site from cedar and douglas fir trees.  Old Douglas fir trees.

The other request was to make it visually similar to another one they already had to avoid having the “shiny new” upstaging the “weathered old”.

I am not quite finished but I have managed to find enough wood to build everything except the rafters.  I had to buy new 2×6’s for those.  I even found a few lengths of fir 6×6 so I could mirror the beam in the old shelter.  Did I mention how heavy 6×6 douglas fir beams are?  No?  Ok, how does 220 pounds sound.  And no helpers 😦

I also got to try my hand at a scarf joint.  Now before you start I know it should by at least eight times longer than the width of the wood, and preferably 12 times.  Problem is I didn’t have enough 6×6 to sacrifice eight feet for scarf joints.  Most of the beam parts were supported by two posts, and only a small piece in the centre would be suspended.  Since this small piece is only 5ish feet long and will at most have to carry two rafters I decided to go with a very small scarf with dowel pins.  I made sure the angle of the joint would aid in supporting the piece.

Sure makes a guy wish for a 10″ saw and some better chisels.  One last note: did I mention how hard old douglas fir can get?  No?  Check this out ->

Count’em up.  One carbide tooth left and it’s burnt.  I actually broke two driver bits as well.

Three Trees

This is actually only two trees.  A single maple with two trunks off a common root have almost completely encased the bottom twenty feet of a cedar.  Very cool.