Monday, May 20, 2013

Already a return on investment.

From my weekend at Lonsdale, we have:

Mucho lilacs
And 10 lbs of rhubarb!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Nice wood

When one takes 3 days off work to accommodate the schedules of others, you think the effort would be reciprocated. Nay.

"Welcome to the world of contractors." That was my Maltese friends response when I told her my helper was a no-show on Monday. She has just lived through 6 weeks + of renovations and "oh, we didn't expect this, and, well, this is now going to cost that...."

Let me back up a second. 'Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Pooooooor me. I can't get someone to come work on my second house. Boo hoo for me. These first world problems are so unfair." Yes. I know. For the most part, this will not paint me in a good light. 

Moving on. I took the contractor's first name being the same as my brothers, his second matching mine and his last name is only one letter different from Ironman's as a good sign. By Tuesday afternoon, that idea was validated when he did show up and set straight to work. 

While he toiled away inside, I did the same outside. Lifting patio stones I repeated "please no snake, no snake, no snake" and that seemed to work. Although I did have one body surf, or is it slither, across the top of the supremely dense lilies. No harm no foul and he moved on. The harm came as I yanked and pulled out the deeply rooted grass that surrounded each stone.

The roots tended to give way all at once and pop up out of the ground. While I managed to dodge most of them, I did punch myself in the face. Twice. And my 44 year old knees haven't been this sore since the Pride of '97. What? Who said that?

At least now, I just need to maintain the grass free status and plant my foot cushion of choice. I am leaning towards silver carpet or white star creeper. Perhaps both - one for the front of the manor and one for the side. 

Two fireplaces and my work stove brought about contractor two. Extra late on Wednesday. Given Monday's no show and the internet provider seemingly disappearing from the face of the earth, I called the fireplace folks Tuesday just to confirm. "Oh yes, he'll be there between 4 and 6." Oh heck, let's just round it to 7:00 and call it a day.

I couldn't be mad of course. What's the point. A - he was super nice and apologized repeatedly. B - he is likely going to work on my fireplaces. Do I really want to upset him? "I'll show you bitch. Burn this joint to the ground!"

As one fireplace is to be converted to propane, he needed to see if he could run a line under the house. There is a crawl space, literally, under one half of the house that I have lifted the trap door on once of twice and said to myself "Oh hells no, I ain't goin' in there." Images of raccoons and mice at best, and a nest of fishers at worst, kept my feet firmly planted on the main floor.

Not Mr. Fire. On no, without a second thought he was in, on his belly and had disappeared under the main beam of the house. Running the propane line would be no problem but he was most impressed with was what was holding the house up. So impressed, he went back down to check it out with his tape measure.

From one end of the house to the other is a solid wood beam 16" x 17". I guess that supports the rumour that the house was built by a lumber company back in the day or yore. "Shame it's down there where no one can see it." 

Again, how could I possibly be mad at him for being late? Especially when he was so impressed with my wood and even paid it a compliment.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Weeks 2 & 3

'Country Living" isn't a truly accurate title for these posts as I'm not 'living' at Lonsdale. Rather, I am visiting (and working!)

Aunt Karen and Fauntleroy would scold me for saying this, but there is such a thing as too many gardens. As least if they are left untended and / or consist of a random plant in some random spot in the yard.

The previous owners made gardens on all sides of the cottage. The west and south sides get a fair shake of sun. Gardens in the east get a lovely, but not as strong afternoon sun while the backside struggles with a smattering of sun in the AM and even less in the PM.

To be truthful, the west and north areas aren't gardens so much as an odd assortment of plants running along limestone. Hydrangeas, roses and assorted other plants that need more sun than they receive are scraggly, skinny little things. The other two sides are much more promising but sadly neglected and overrun with crabgrass.

Those who know me know I like things just so and I set about making them right. According to me anyway. Today I planned on recovering the stone walkway from the driveway to the side door. More grass than stone showed which did me in from both an aesthetic and a tracking crap into the house on your shoes perspective.

What I thought would be a couple hours with a edger and a good wire brush turned into a day long adventure. Whoever put in the original path liked the 'one stone per step' approach and let nature takes its course. It was not as simple as rolling back the overgrowth as if it were fresh sod. Turns out, there was more ground than stone.

So began my task or searching my 6 acres of heaven for more pathway materials so I could turn this:
Into this:
Of course I now want to run out and buy Spanish moss and have that grow between the stones instead of the grass but that would be on my terms. Snakes run amuck in the garden to the left (which also happens to be where the well is) and I want to take that out due to grass, weeds and really, one should't have a lot of roots right next to their water supply.

J'adore a yew hedge and I think one well maintained and trimmed would look a treat and yet not taste like one for deer. Quite poisonous for them apparently.

Thoughts of my dad came flooding in as I cut the grass yesterday. At odd intervals throughout the yard are peonies, currant bushes and other as yet unidentified plants. Don't get me wrong, I like most of these things - in the proper setting!

I will salvage / move what I can but there is going to be some order brought about.

There is STILL an unwanted guest in my attic. I now know it is a raccoon and I think it has eaten a good deal of rat poison and likely has a mouse trap on it's paw. Long story but it deserves it for ripping a hole in my soffit. I have on loan from my neighbours a 'catch and release' trap and I've loaded it with peanut butter.

WHEN I catch Ricky, oh and I will, there will be no release. A swim with the beaver might be in order but we'll have to wait and see.