What to do with bachelor board?

Pat calls our wood panelling bachelor board.

That’s because just about every bachelor apartment he has encountered is smothered by that crappy veneer “wood” panels. It does sort of smack of small pay cheques, singlehood and despair doesn’t it? Or maybe a sleazy guy’s basement. Perhaps Calvin Klein will call and offer to do a pre-teen skanky photoshoot here like the ones from the 90’s.

Here is what it looks like at the moment.

You can clearly see the difference between crappy bachelor board and nice hardwood. But the couch rocks!

I’ve found a “how to” page to deal with it

How to paint over veneer paneling

I found this photo on HousetoHome that is a nice new take on wood in wallpaper form.

Wood print wallpaper

A good idea we will employ until we can rid our selves of this horrid crap. Because it is either getting covered or demo’ed! Of course that’s a spring project for another time. Ah one day you’ll be gone bachelor board.

The garden is closed

Screw you rain I gotta garden.

That was my philosophy this past weekend. I don’t rake in the fall but there were phlox to transplant before the frost and my mint and chives from my balcony garden had to go in before it was too late.

It rained like a cow pissing on a flat rock (when you are in the country you can use these kinds of quaint expressions). We (mum and I) did get a few hours reprieve on Saturday so we gav’er (another charming local parlance) and got the herbs in the start of a new bed.

Here is the mint and chives. It's mojitos and omelets for us next spring!

Of course much of what we transplanted looks like crap at this time of year but the phlox and black-eyed Susan and daisies will look good next year. We’ve moved them over to fill in some holes that have been created by that horrible life sucking ground cover we can’t get rid of. Damned dirty weed! (said in Heston-like fashion).

Yeah it doesn't look like much now but you just wait. Those pink and purple phlox will rock.

So now the garden is closed for another season. We had a good run guys and we will see you next spring. Stay warm and don’t listen to anything the squirrels have to say. They are lying bastards and they’ll take you down if they want to.

I want a repeat of this, next year.

Oh yeah and when we got there we discovered that indeed our party friends the mice had been and left their mark. Or rather thousands of tiny poopy marks. That’s the job for next time.

My house in Rodentia

So we’ve been having a few visitors to the schoolhouse over the years that haven’t been the best of house guests. They leave their crap all over the place, you have to stash your valuables before they get there and you have to clean up after them constantly.

Yes the rodents (well mice, flies and moths) have taken over. So have flies and wasps for that matter. I don’t want to start making the mess of renovation projects if I also have to deal with them as well. At least human visitors might help with the work.

I’m arming myself with a few “deterrents” this year. I’m off to Lee Valley first to see what they can help me with in terms of flies and wasps. They get in the house in the fall and laze about in the sun until they die over the winter.

So far I’ve found these

Then come the mice. Traps are out because of the gross mess they leave. You can’t live trap if you aren’t there all the time. Once we accidentally left an old freezer open a crack and came up to find several stinky guys at the bottom. That was the end of them and the end of the freezer.

We’ve tried the high frequency plug-in things that are supposed to irritate them but they didn’t work. So its back to Warfarin. Neat, tidy and over with quickly. I don’t like to kill the mice but I’m done with cleaning out every drawer in the house every visit.

I only get poison in powder or blocks. The pellets are just fun for the mice to hide around the house and then you find them in the bottom of a box stashed for later. Not safe with pets around the house.

Sigh. Sometimes house guests just over stay their welcome.

We’re going, weather or not!

Well the forecast for this weekend is looking grim.

Weather forecast: Peterborough

Now I am beginning to wonder what we can do indoors if the weather doesn’t co-operate. I don’t relish gardening on a cold, rainy day.

Maybe I can get Pat to start the final phase of the vestibule floor. We pulled out the old rotten floor a year ago and this summer (yes that means a whole winter of “walking the plank” across the hole between the door and the living room) replaced the sub floor. Well our friend did the work but Pat did do all the measuring and destruction. There is a photo somewhere of the hole but I can’t find it right now.

Now we want to put in nice hardwood and repaint the vestibule. Perhaps this weekend will depend on whether or not the weather wants us indoors or out.

This is why we only have a balcony in the city

I cleared up most of my little potted plants here at the condo this week.

It wasn’t much of a garden. I just put out a few herbs, (Mojito mint!) flowers, (nicer than concrete) some tomatoes (non-starter) and peppers (late bloomers). It’s not much to look at and sometimes tidying our balcony and weeding the plants is a total chore. Nothing mind you, in comparison to what lies ahead.

We are going up to the schoolhouse this coming weekend. Going to clean up the gardens and hopefully prep a new herb garden beside the house for the spring.

Perhaps on the way up we will make a stop at Richters Herbs in Goodwood (insert wood joke here).

Richters Herbs

Man does that place have everything under the sun. I have bought a lot there over the years. Multiple types of mint (including a Mojito-specific one), thyme, dozens of basils: you name it. I like to dry or freeze them to keep me going over the winter. But maybe I am getting ahead of myself. Before I do anything new we have to clean up the mess I am sure we will encounter when we get there.

Before the fun of gardening comes the pain of yard work. That acre doesn’t cut itself. Or rake itself. Or do anything itself but grow.

Some people stop by and joke that I should use a scythe to cut it. Then I tell them about the time I used a scythe to cut it.

We always have great intentions. We start out good in the spring but if you miss one weekend it all goes to Hell. This is how the yard looked after missing two cuttings in August.

It wasn't pretty. Grass, weeds and two different kind of vines were waiting for me. There is actually a white propane tank in there too.

I managed to clear most of it and reclaim the parts of the yard that had previously been controlled by a diabolical vine villain, plotting to take over the world. or at least my yard.

Of course now I’ve been busy in recent days so now the grass will be long and there will be weeds. Sweeping the balcony doesn’t seem so bad now.

Any interest in Pinterest?

A little birdie told me about Pinterest not too long ago. It’s a website that acts like a bulletin board or a portfolio. Instead of clipping pictures and ideas out of magazines and sticking them on your wall (like we did with our Johnny Depp posters back in the day) you can “pin” images, pages etc. to a virtual pinboard to use later.

Here is my Pinterest site

This is takes up a lot less space than my binders and piles of papers. That’s what I’ve been doing (along with a lot of daydreaming) up until now.

My papers and binders are like that  Kurt Vonnegut short story in Welcome to the Monkey House. I think it is More Stately Mansions. Or Next Door?The woman collects so much material to decorate her shabby house that when her husband does the work to her exact specifications while she is away she enters the house not noticing the difference. Her fantasy was always there. Wow. Deep.

Thanks Erin (the little birdie) for that tip. She’s a collector both virtually and in reality but a great resource for innovative decorating ideas.

And, by the way Erin, do you have more pins than anyone else on the planet?

Back in the day

I’ve dug through the photo albums and found a few cool photos.

I can tell you it doesn’t look like this anymore. However the floors are original and you can see where the desks were nailed down.

I think this is the only one I have of the interior from when it was still a school building. Other than the floors, there isn’t much left inside that you would call original detail except for perhaps the large glass overhead lights. I wonder if Restoration Hardware will ever start a schoolhouse department?

The original hand pump is still here but no longer operational. Though it was used by us for many years for drinking water.

Not much is original on the outside either but at least it still maintains the general feel of a schoolhouse. It is red brick with a steep, tall roof that you can spot a kilometre down the road. And of course the pump, which is pretty rusty and lame looking but I hope to at least refurbish it a some point.
The property is fairly large. A good thing in the long run but a damnable haven of ill-tempered grass and weeds that vexes my every garden plot and attempt at landscaping. One day I will tame you my evil green-haired devil (shakes fist at ground).
In a couple of weeks the materfamilias and I are heading up to the property to plan out some gardening and figure out a better way to tame the beast. We’ll see how that goes as I search for perennials that don’t take over everything in order to combat a perennial that has taken over everything.

Where to begin?

I’ve been dreaming of really working hard on the schoolhouse for a long time.

I have always wanted it to be this great place where friends and family can visit and hang out. Now, if people visit, they generally cock their head to one side or raise an eyebrow and go, “huh…” or “I bet this place used to be great.”

Perhaps it is the peeling paint on the doors and window sills. Or the eavestrough hanging in a perpendicular fashion to the roofline, nowhere near the eaves and not acting as troughs. It might even be the fantastic brown stains left on the bedroom ceilings after a few roof leaks some years back. Whatever the cause I want to uncock those heads, lower those eyebrows and get more of those open-mouthed gapes of amazement.

So now it is time to hit the ground running. The time is now. I am hoping to wrap up and prepare some gardens this fall and over the winter putter on some indoor projects and plan for the spring.

In order to inspire our instructor in my Social Media Marketing class wants us to look for at least three blogs or websites to act as inspiration for our projects. Here is what I am going for:

The Old School House

This is a blog from a family in the United States who has renovated a schoolhouse with pretty amazing results. For some reason I’ve never really thought about integrating the school theme into the design. This family has done that in spades, from the chalkboard backsplash in the kitchen to the labels on the doors to particular rooms. I think of this as a great example of what you can accomplish with time and passion.

From Neglected Schoolhouse to Chic Cottage — Country Living

This is what happens when people think a bit too hard about what they want to accomplish. I like what these two guys did to renovate this New York State schoolhouse in a sense but it feels really over the top in its decorating. Or at least it isn’t in a style with which I normally go. I am way too clumsy to have that much bric-a-brac just sitting around. I know more than a few people who would love this but this example serves, at least for me, as an example of what I don’t want to do.

Classic School House Converted into Contemporary Home

Now this design is very interesting. At Dornob, a blog about design, they provide an example of a 18th century schoolhouse that has a very modern internal renovation coupled with an addition. I’ve toyed with the idea of keeping the main portion of the schoolhouse intact and basically add another house on the back. This design by Faleide Architects of Denver is very interesting. I don’t know if this would work on our property but the idea of merging old and new like this is pretty cool.

All of these concepts are years and thousands of dollars away. I think it is a good idea to look at where this could go and then figure out a plan of action.