Thursday, April 25, 2013

Country Living - Week 1

I will have to add the pictures to this post at a later date, I forgot the required cable. I'm sure I could walk around with my laptop and just use that, but as Kerouac, Papi and Kitkat can testify, when it comes to Apple products, my status is clearly 'amateur'.

Change is the only thing that's constant. My former boss loved that expression and for that, I was not a fan. Those words never rung truer however than this week. Last Tuesday saw mother move into her fantastic new condo. A trim upgrade was a wise investment as were the hardwood floors, granite countertop and, this I must emphasize, having her own colours painted. 

I would normally be all over a roller and drop sheet in an effort to get her settled but as I have been through 7 gallons of paint at Lonsdale Cottage myself, doing it for anyone else at this point does not set my brush quivering. 

11 foot ceilings are fantastic but take A LOT of paint. Conquered are one bathroom, one mud room, eat -in kitchen, formal living / dining room, side and front entrances and all the accompanying trim - and with 3 foot thick walls, there is loads of trim. Loads. 

First week challenges? Well, some critter, I am hoping squirrel or possum quite literally tore a hole in the soffit and invited itself in. I hope for one of the aforementioned because the only alternatives I can think of are racoon, too big, or a skunk, need I say more? 

After a run in at the Home Depot, that ended in a 10% discount on my entire order, I purchased a metal screen that I have now installed. I first put my handy bee smoker to use in an effort to flush said critter out, but nothing seemed to be in there. 

My fear is that, much like myself, whatever it was has a summer residence and will be back. My hope is that something bigger had it for dinner, it had a run in with a series of car tires, my neighbours dog got the better of it or it met the wrong end of a local farmers gun. Time will tell.

Next challenge came with the first big rain storm. "Did you spill water in here?" Came the query from IronMan. I had not and looking up, we found a little streak of water across a beam in the ceiling. Always looking for the silver lining I told myself that at least we were here when it happened, it was in a room that is not yet finish (our future great room and home to the pool table) and didn't ruin a ceiling.

My arms and belly were soon set to itchin' after I crawled around in the attic insulation, father's voice in my head asking "where's your mask and why aren't you wearing long sleeves?" The seal, or lack there of, around one of the gables, I have four you see, seems to have been the problem. 

Thankfully my boy scout training seems to have stuck and in an effort to always be prepared, last week I spent some time, including the aforementioned argument, and money at the Home Depot wondering the aisles looking for supplies I might need. One of those included tubes of roofing tar that came in very handy this morning. I hope this repair job is more successful than the one I attempted for the dollhouse girls a few years back. Next storm will tell I suppose.

The gable area was right next to soffit hole and I soon realized that smoke or not, if anything had been in there, it pretty much could have gone anywhere in the attic. I was relieved not to have glowing sets of eyes staring from the dark recesses. A special thanks to Baco Noir and my brother for the maglite birthday gift. Without that I surely would have missed one of the rafters and found myself with a 2 x 6 rammed into my nuts. 

It's only Thursday so I can't say 'final' excitement for the week, but I did notice fresh mouse droppings in the attic. Good times. Traps, traps and more traps will be the order of the day on my next Canadian Tire trip.  

I know mother nature ALWAYS wins, but I am not going down without a fight!  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Breakfast with friendssssssss

In preparation for next weekend's move to Lonsdale Cottage, I have spent the last two in the country with my head in several paint cans.

My formal sitting room / dining room is a stunning French silver. The lemon zest of the kitchen gives one a 'top o' the mornin' guvna' when you enter. 

The bright colour does a treat in making the 100+ year old McCleary cast iron stove 'pop' as it were. My back got a little pat this morning as I went into pioneer mode. The air had a wee nip and the floors felt like an ice rink as I stepped out of bed (really, rolled off an air mattress onto the floor) so I decided a fire was in order.

Success was had with one match, father and scouts taught me well, and I found myself sitting in the lone chair I have sitting next to the stove. Not wanting to stray far from the warm zone I put water in the kettle and bacon in the pan and both on warming iron surface. At the very least I thought I could 'hot the pot' and set my English Renaissance pot off to one side.

Smug satisfaction soon swelled my breast and I found myself with a whistling kettle, crisp bacon (that was kept warm in the, wait for it, warming drawer) and scrambled eggs and sautéed onions. All went down a treat. 

Despite winter firmly digging in it's heels, my actual birthday, a day I continue to take off from work in an effort to have it recognized as a national holiday, was rather warm. While in the garden clearing debris, I found myself sans fleece and in shirtsleeves. 

It must have been quite warm against limestone patio for I also found myself playing host to no less than 25 slithering garter snakes. Initially they were one swarming snake pile, I assume to keep warm, but were soon everywhere I seemed to be. 

Thankfully they didn't seem attracted to warmth of my rubber boots or the pointy end of my pitchfork and steered a clear path. "They're good pest control" I kept telling myself. "Oh, we find them in the house all the time" the neighbour said. "Come again?" Oh dear. 

The sun is out again today and I hope to begin a catch and release program. Catch them here and release oh I don't know, along the side of the 401. Or maybe the parking lot of a certain en route that messed up my order last time. 

For a first encounter with critters of the country, I will take this mildly pleasant experience. There were no injuries, no damage and no death. 

I did notice a little hole in the soffit around the back of the house. Something, something with teeth and claws, has clearly decided to make a home up there. Next weekend, I get to find out what it is and evict it!