Just in time

Finished the cistern today, just in time for a half inch of rain if the forecast is correct.  Tomorrow I think we are headed to town, since rainy days are lousy work days.  May as well shop!

Live simply

Spent the last couple of days hauling away the contents of another estate.  This is the third one I’ve helped with this year.  There is something profoundly sad about loading someone’s valued possessions, items they picked out with care and thought and passion, and taking them to the landfill.

It feels like an insult.  Demeaning.

Many items are taken by relatives and friends.  Some items make it to local recycling or are donated to second hand charity stores. The lion’s share of the house contents however ends up  getting unceremoniously tossed into the back of the truck and taken to the dump.

You start to think about you own possessions and what will happen to them.  The fox statuette and whale milk pitcher.  The painting that was Kelly’s retirement gift.  The drawer full of watches I’ve been keeping (some even still work!)

Cleaning out someone else’s home can be a great eye opener.  It makes you really think about what you want to leave behind for somebody to deal with.  We have been downsizing fairly steadily over the past decade or so, quite aggressively at times.    We’ve gone from almost 4000 sqft of living and storage space to just under 900 sqft in the process. I like to think that in the end of days most of our belongings will find a second home and not simply tossed out.  Live simply and spare someone else the sadness and guilt of destroying the artifacts of a life.

Rain Water

Did a little more work on the rainwater cistern this week. Removed a couple trees and levelled the spot it sits on and finished putting facia boards on the shelter. Friday my gutter parts are supposed to arrive so I can finish the project this coming weekend, or I hope so. Sad to have missed the rain this week but you have to think in the long term.

Still trying to decide on the irrigation side of this project. The water is for the garden. I don’t have much elevation change for this to be an effective gravity system and there is no power run down here to run a pump. We are pretty sure we want drip irrigation, so I need to figure a way to get water at low flow and longer times to the drip lines. Thinking about either trenching power ($$$) or maybe a small elevated tank that would act as a water tower. I’m pretty sure I’m not interested in a solar solution. My experience at LaRonge tells me it is more expensive than believed and far less reliable.

Thinking long term again I currently favour trenching power as there are good reasons to have electricity by the garden anyway. We talked about a possible route that would also serve a future shop building that seems to make sense to me. Probably going to be a few thousand though, so might need an interim solution for a while, which could be a simple as running out the garden hoses from the house one more year. If we miss the winter rains I might have to do that anyway.

Long day

Another concrete day. These are always long days. We hand mix with a portable mixer. Usually we rent a six cubit foot gas power mixer which we did today. On the fourth load the main bearing died and we had to swap it out for a smaller electric mixer. I did sixty loads in six hours. 20,000 pounds. The mixer failure delayed us as well so the last few were done in the dark. Long day.

Hmm, not sure about this one

Put together this cedar stave hot tub and built the deck and stairs for a couple over the Christmas season.  Tub comes in a half dozen boxes and you have to assemble it like a barrel, which I guess it sort of is.

It looks nice enough.  Has jets, a light, benches.  It reminds me of the wood fired tubs you can get except it has a standard electric heater and pump system.

The surprising part is it has virtually no insulation compared to your traditional fibreglass/acrylic tubs.  There is an 1/8″ foil backed thermal blanket between the cedar staves and the liner, same wrapped around the plumbing.  That’s it.  The manufacturer claims $60/month to heat.  I hope that’s true, glad it’s not my power bill though.

Leather Floor

Well, ok it’s not really leather but it sure looks like it.  Here is a small cottage floor we just finished redoing.  Levelled the original floor through a combination of grinding the old and pouring new top layer, then acid stained with hydrochloric acid.  After neutralizing with ammonia and left to dry it was sealed with an epoxy finish.  We just finished applying the epoxy in this picture.