Keeping the cold out

So are we all ready for this?

Buckhorn backyard winter 2013

Buckhorn backyard winter 2013

I know I am not. We are headed up this weekend to do a bit more winterizing. Hopefully we can keep the outside where it belongs and the house in good shape in case this happens again.

I found this list of helpful tips which may be of use.

How to protect your cottage during the winter months

Well truthfully we don’t drain the lines like some folk do as we come up throughout the winter. And we keep a bit of heat on so that’s my main concern. But we keep a clear path to the door and to the propane tank and as long as we can get in and check in regularly all should be well.

Sump pumps suck when they don’t suck

after this long, cold winter I had been looking forward to spring.
Then came the call from our friend who checks on the house. The sump pump in the root cellar had quit and the cellar was filling fast. Nothing between us and the icy cold ground water other than our hardwood floors and a few electric pumps.

After careful electrical disconnects and discovering a fortunate second sump socked away in the shed, we’ve been able to stop in in flow from becoming a totally disastrous deluge. Thanks to our kind friend and ex-neighbour we have saved the house from major damage once again.

Needless to say for this reason (and others) we have very little interest in that new Russell Crowe flood film.

Pinkish is the new red

We finally stained the picnic table but it can be said that the colour is not reflective of the name of the stain.
Pinky picnic table

I considered calling this post, “Redwood my ass” but thought better of it when thinking about what search terms would be used that combined “wood” and “ass”.

We have had the table for a year but just got around to staining it. It has darkened somewhat but not to a degree I would call redwood.

Spring means renewal

Ok spring is officially here so it is time to take action.


After a winter of thinking and planning but not actually doing much (well we painted a bathroom and fixed a counter here at the condo) it is time to think like spring and get into renewal mode. Time to get my head out of catalogues and magazines and do some decorating, repairing, gardening or something at least.

I think I will try to do one new thing each week. Let’s see how this goes. Any suggestions?

A smooth en “counter”

We have banished the black rings of Swansea at last!

OK that smacks a bit too much of Tolkien. What I meant to say was that Pat has re-finished our kitchen countertop and removed the blackened rings, cracks and other imperfections left by the previous owners of our condo.

I don’t have a great photo for the “before” scenario but you see that not only was it in poor shape it was a bit too yellow in this photo from this earlier post.

Pat removed the large piece of wood and took it to his shop at work.


While accessing the drawers without opening them was a convenience, there really was little appeal in leaving things like this. Fortunately it only took a day. Pat sanded down the counter block within an inch of its life and added a rounded edge. He waxed it and the combination of wax and serious sanding really brought the wood grain out. It is so smooth and pretty now I don’t actually want to put anything on it lest I be the one to wreck it after so much work was put into it.


Of course in this process we are now questioning the position and location of everything in the kitchen and this is leading to a major shuffle and re-organization. Sigh.

Ice storm, flood, zombie attack? An infographic.

We Canadians are generally prepared for the likes of most natural disasters.

We value our homes and like to ensure they are kept safe. If you live out west, you know about avalanches and earthquakes. Easterners know more than enough about surviving floods and ice storms. If you are from Saskatchewan, you have likely figured out how not to die from boredom and so forth.

We’ve contemplated getting the schoolhouse emergency-ready with differing heating systems and generators. Storing foodstuffs and water and all those important things the Federal government advises us of.

However we have no plan for zombie attack. So when I saw this infographic I thought, “well that makes sense.” And also, “I can’t believe I have gone this long without a plunger gun.”

How To Zombie Proof Your House
Browse more infographics.

All’s well at well’s end

Well, well effing well.

So the late summer and early fall has been a price part of the year. We’ve done some plumbing work to say the least. Those poor fellows who made their way under the schoolhouse and into our root cellar last summer to fix a leaky valve made their way back three times to complete repairs on our well.

This is what my old foot valve looks like. It was at the end of some very long water lines. I can now believe my well is more than 100 feet deep and I know my yard can hold 100 feet of water line because they have pulled it up and replaced it as well.

Oh and did I mention the new pump we also have? Let’s just say that now that the new equipment is in, this will be the most pristine water in the township. Which is good as I may have to start selling it in bottles to cover the repairs! Just kidding township. I am sure there are rules against that.

Now the well is all shocked and ready for action. They tell me it these repairs will last for some time. I suspect the schoolhouse is just the place to test this theory.

The vestibule is “best”-ibule

OK so I made that word up.

But a vestibule is good. You can take your boots off in here and not mess up the rest of the house. It can be where the winter clothes live while you are in summer wear. It’s a great place to stand while you wait for the school bus or your ride to town.

We haven’t had a chance to paint the vestibule yet and I am itching to do it. There is some extra vacation time tucked away in my file so I may have to do it this fall. And while we are just painting now, eventually we want to make this small, square entrance way a useful space.

I’ve turned to Pinterest to see what ideas it can offer.

Source: via Ariel on Pinterest

Source: via Ariel on Pinterest

If a tree falls… will the neighbour hear it?

Well they didn’t hear it but they did see it.

I got a text message last week from my neighbour with this photo attached and the subject, “Did you know?”

I did not.

I made my way up this weekend. It’s going to be tough to tie a yellow ribbon around this oak tree now. Or the pine tree it took down. Must have been that bad storm everyone was talking about.

No real damage and no one hurt. Only a foot or two away from the powerline into the house though. Close one.

Well my neighbour and I cleared what we could and the pros are coming this week to buck up the rest. We will have campfire wood and my friends who rely on wood stoves will get the rest. Oh and there may even be some chips for the garden that can kill off the rest of my evil vines and general pile of crap near the septic tank.

So I guess just as nature intends, everything comes full circle. From mighty acorns…etc.