Monthly Archives: July 2015

It’s time.

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So, how about this weather? A bit hot, eh? Yup. We’ve had it up to here with this weather (imagine me raising my sunburnt arms way over my head wearily). I’m fair-skinned, a red head and lately I’ve had no energy. You throw in 40 degree weather and for some reason I don’t want to move from our very muggy basement, the only area of our house that doesn’t remind me of the inside of an oven. For the next two weeks we have Hubby’s cousin staying with us to learn about being a chef, and the three of us and Junior have been sweating it out in this non air conditioned house for several days now.

Neighbours across the street brought us over a window air conditioner and Hubby immediately installed it in our bedroom, but it certainly isn’t powerful enough to cool the whole upper floor. So ceiling fans and floor fans are working in overdrive, and the shades are drawn to keep out the hellishly rampant sunlight. I feel like a hermit.

I’m hard pressed not to simply live in our bedroom with Junior and the dogs, but I know I will go stir crazy, I’m already half gone as it is. There is so much yard work to be done and I had hoped with the extra pair of hands around here, we could finally, finally, get my garden fence up. But I won’t push the guys to work in this heat, which sucks the air right out of your lungs.

Yesterday Hubby’s cousin and I made a water table for Junior. I had found an old wooden kids table for 50 cents at a yard sale, and although it’s weathered and water damaged, it is now the perfect play area for Junior on a hot day. I picked up two dollar store plastic bins and used a jigsaw to cut out holes in the table top to nest the bins in. Fill with water, soap or sand, and enjoy! Junior happily splashed and giggled, our front porch getting wetter with each fling of a toy, but on such a hot day, the constant slew of water on our legs was relaxing.

Although I’m the one mostly stuck at home in this sweltering heat, and I grew up with nary an air conditioner, I have to admit, this is a bit much, and when Hubby suggested it was past due to install central air, I didn’t have the energy to fight about it. You never hear of anyone regretting getting central air. Perhaps their bills go up a bit, or the initial cost was high, but I have yet to hear anyone complain. And so, with a small advance from his work, Hubby brought home some cash, and the central air will be installed next week. And yes, we are aware that by then the heat wave will be over, but the cash is in hand, the wheels are turning, and I have already agreed to this new expense. Let’s get ‘ir done.

So please excuse me while I go fish through our deep freeze for the last popsicle and I melt down my stairs to the basement, I may not emerge til the final bolt is installed, and the cool refreshing expensive (but worth it) cold air is coursing through our vents.

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Rear Garden

So I was able to get some gardening done. We’ve been alternating between hellish heat and constant downpour, so of course during a hellish heat day I was out back with the shovel digging up a new garden along the back of the house. I turned the soil and let the sod dry out before removing it, making it slightly easier to deal with. I also pulled out an old cedar stump that causes a headache each time hubby gets the ride on mower close to it. That dang thing was going to take out a blade sooner rather than later so I hacked at it angrily with a shovel until it popped out. This also made room for a better garden. We’ll eventually be putting in a large deck, but thats a few years from now, so getting this little garden in has helped with the look of the area, and as well, made it easier to maintain.

It’s not a recommended time of year to be splitting plants, but I couldn’t take it anymore and my hostas are literally taking over my front garden. I transplanted some hostas, so tall yellow flowers, some morning glory and some other misc perennials. Ive been able to keep the water on them so far and I think they will take. I’ve still got a bit more gardening to do on the other side of the deck, but it will just be hostas lining between the lawn and the little scraggly pine tree we have.

I told Hubby not to install the fence posts on his last day off as it was very very hot, and now I fear they may never get put in. We did cut down the wooden gates and they are ready to be installed, so that’s at least one less step.

Today I’m off to help a neighbour/friend on the next concession to paint her four month old’s nursery with a large white tree. She’s offered a little money and she will watch Junior as I work away with it.

Yesterday Hubby and I helped out the across the road neighbours and took a trailer load of shingles to the dump for them. They had cost out the rental of a dump bin and it would have been close to $500. But for only $120, the dump took the shingles and Hubby and I got a nice work out. They offered a little bit of cash for our help, time and gas which was very nice, but we would have helped them anyways.

So we’ve been keeping busy and if we could get this garden fence in it’s the last large project of the year. It will get done, it WILL get done.

Projects to Tackle

pool

I’m free!!  Okay, if I hadn’t mentioned it, I have been working on a very large order with my small business, and I’m happy to say I have completed it finally!  My main little business is with burlap. Rustic brides contact me for table runners, signs and buntings (little flags on string), but for the past several year Movember Toronto (the mustache-growing-fund raising people) have asked me to decorate their summer events. Each year of course needs to be different, which has me ever reaching farther away from what I’m actually good at. This year’s order should have probably gone to a screen printer as I worked with exterior paint on natural canvas. The paint seeped under the stencils, projects took forever to dry and I went through piles of brushes. In the end I don’t think I made a penny pf profit, but at least it’s for a good cause. I hope they enjoy them. I usually throw in some extra items, and this year was no different, 2 free pillows, which should get me on their good side. Finishing this order means I can actually do other things. I’ve of course taken a few nights to watch horrible romantic movies on Netflix but now that I have my evenings free, after 7pm when Junior goes to bed, I can finally conquer some home projects. Here is what we currently have going on:

  1. I picked up two free wooden gates that I want to cut down to size to use as garden gates. They came 5’ tall and they need to be 4’, but they came with all the hardware, which saves me close to $60 for all the hinges and clasps. I was so excited to pick them up.
  2. The garden fence. Nope, we still don’t have the fence poles in yet. Both Hubby and I dread digging those holes again. (I say again, since last year we actually dug most of the holes, then had to fill them in when the shed was delivered.
  3. The back of the house has practically no landscaping to it and the job of hand sniping the constant barrage of weeds is getting me, more so the fact that we don’t have time. The rest of our yard looks fantastic but right at the house under our tiny back deck the weeds are 3’ high. I want to relocate some of my perennials since they need to be split anyways. It’s not the ideal time to do it, but we have a bbq with friends coming up in august so I’m hoping if I do it now, they will take hold.
  4. On one of my garage sale hunting days I found a wooden kids table and two chairs, they need to be glued and re screwed so they are nice and tight. I might paint the table, but I’m not too sure yet.
  5. I haven’t had much of an urge to be baking since the heat is insufferable, but my rhubarb needs to be harvested. I can at least cut it back, chop it up and freeze it for some winter baking. It’s a shame to see it go to waste.
  6. An outdoor play area for Junior. Hubby is very tired of us keeping the little pool in the front yard meanwhile we have a huge back yard, but because of the ease of the location of the hose and the fact that one of our dogs would attack and maul the tiny pool to death, we play in the front yard, under the shade of our only tree. With the promise of the garden fence going up, I want to allocate a portion of my future garden area to be a play area, complete with sandbox, a small seating area and eventually the pool. I am on the search for some eaves trough to run across the back of the shed in order to hook up a rain barrel that will eventually fill Juniors pool on hot days. It will be years before I have the time and energy to actually garden the whole section we are fencing in, so it’s a great dog-free zone for Junior’s toys without the yard looking cluttered.

That’s all the major projects we have going on so far. I’m sure I can think of more later.

Gardening at 9pm

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I know, I know, too many posts for one day! But it’s a dream come true… Hubby is entertained downstairs with his buddy, the dishes are mostly done (bbq went well, albeit indoor eating for sure because of the rain) and Junior went to bed early. After our friends and their kids left, I slipped into my flip flops and braved a very wet flower garden. The rain has let up and I hope the kids in town get to see some fireworks, but for me the true excitement is getting to weed my garden. Yup, it’s still light out, and I have an hour to myself guilt free. So top of the list was my very neglected front gardens which are bursting with perennials. I split them last year and again this spring but they are all so huge. All the better to share, but the garden for sure is very full and almost at full bloom. I love my hostas when the spikes start emerging to show off tiny purple flowers, or the exploding morning glory. The yellow tiger lilies look amazing and we have a maple tree in our front garden that has had to be cut back twice as it spurts up in its fourth year of life. I have just come in and the wheelbarrow is filled to the brim with weeds, a great success. The dirt is still under my fingernails as I type since I can’t take the chance of missing a moment to actually post a blog in real time (imagine that!). Earlier today I snapped a picture of the bar which I am using as a garden work bench. I’ve added some peg board and have started to hang all my tools. Out of sight is a deep spice rack that never found a home inside our house, so I screwed it between beams in the shed and it now holds an assortment of bug spray and a few mason jars for pens and misc hardware. Oh and hopefully you can see in the picture there is a bird clock too. It was a gift from my aunt but since with every hour it chirps and whistles like the birds on it, it was sent to the garage to live a sad lonely life. Now it chirps proudly in the garden shed. I imagine large wicker baskets for the shelves or containers for bulbs. It’s surely coming along. The second picture is one I pulled from the internet. I’d like to build an outdoor potting bench with “functioning” sink. I imagine the water barrels hooked up to some rain gutters on the shed and since the bottom of the barrel has a tap, the barrel can be on the bench with the tap over a sink that I will sink into some sort of wood bench. The sink will then drain into a bucket I can place under neath, so that when I’m done washing up, I can toss the old water into the garden. The added height to the rain barrel will also make it easier to water the garden, maybe even hook up an irrigation hose. Who knows… so many ideas!

Oh I was second in line to receive a free rabbit hutch with 6 rabbits, and although I am not currently looking for rabbits, the hutch would have been a great chicken coop if I could have re-homed the bunnies. But all in good time. Still need a few good days to get my garden fence up.

Happy Canada Day

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Happy Canada Day! With gloomy weather predicted and an exhausted family, we didn’t pre plan much for our country’s birthday. We casually put feelers out to see if there were any takers for a bbq and finally pinned down a dinner bbq date with our friends in the country and their two kids. We later added in a co worker of Hubby’s and we had a menu planned of burgers, potato salad and cold drinks. Nothing fancy. We had hoped for good weather but when we woke up we discovered we would have none of it. So with a constant downpour of rain we piled into the car and drove to a local brewery that we love. Since I’m on a budget I was pleased to find a bucket of free buttons at the cash, so I snagged one for my sister and a few for Hubby. Hubby splurged on a few beer that could only be purchased there and Junior sat in Hubby’s arms, showing off their matching red plaid shirts. We then headed over to a cheese factory for some overpriced poutine (can’t get much more Canadian than that), although I found it lacking in the cheese curd department, which was a bit ironic. That’s okay because I splurged on some fresh curds and a small block of fresh cheese. We are now home, cleaning house, with Junior running around happily clutching his “soft blankie”, waiting for our dinner guests to arrive. Happy birthday Canada.

Father’s Day Update

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Wow, what a crazy busy weekend. So for Father’s Day, Hubby only wanted to spend time with us (myself and Junior) and build the ramp for the new shed. Sounds easy enough, but we found ways to complicate it all.

As usual, early in the morning I take Junior downstairs to play until Hubby wakes up, then we hurry back upstairs, Junior climbing faster and faster each time to reach Daddy. Father’s Day was no different and we waited patiently to hear Hubby stir before we all crawled back into bed with him, juniors gift to Daddy in hand. Since I’m on a tight budget I wasn’t quite sure what to get Hubby so I searched online for good gift ideas. I settled on a bleach sprayed shirt. I’ll have to get some pictures up soon, but I’ll try to describe it as clearly as possible.

  1. Purchase a cotton t shirt in a dark colour.
  2. Trace out an image onto sticky backed paper (found at the dollar store), and in this case it was an outline of Juniors hand.
  3. Place the image onto the shirt in the desired location, removing the protective backing so that it sticks to the shirt.
  4. Put about a cup of bleach into a spray bottle and spray once or twice over the image, allowing spray to hit the shirt wherever.
  5. Keep in mind that it takes a few minutes to see the bleach starting to settle in, so wait between sprays.
  6. Blot with paper towel and remove image sticker. Rinse, dry and voila…art.

I had such fun with the hand print that I made another shirt with images of ravens flying, and the mottled dots of the bleach spray gives it the illusion that the ravens are flying against a starry night. Hubby seemed to like the shirts, although who knows if he will wear them, at least they didn’t break the bank.

The day started with drizzles, many clouds and muggy temperatures that did not have us in a good mood to be sawing and hammering out at the shed. Hubby and I will never open our own home reno business as we would certainly kill each other. Hubby is the type of worker that likes to say “good enough” and I’m the type to overthink (usually after the fact), but I hate doing things halfas….half way.

We tried to find compromise along the way but it was hard, and with over $150 worth of pressure treated lumber it made a dent in my wallet and in our spirits. But in the end, we have a ramp, that works, that doesn’t wobble, and seems like it will hold up.

Now, I’m not one to leave the day as simple as ramp building, so I found a few things on kijiji for Hubby. Now that we have the shed set up, and in it, my gardening bench, I wanted Hubby to have the garage set up for his tools and he was definitely lacking in storage and work space. So into the big city we went (lucky we had my dad’s trailer on hand) and we picked up an old wooden work table and a wooden cabinet, but for $20. They are older pieces, and need some loving care, but for $20 Hubby gained a lot of space, plus along the way we found a garage sale that had ended and all items were free. Well now I’m sure you can imagine me screaming in pure glee at that find, but I held back and only snagged a wooden headboard that I can resell with my business as a wedding sign.

After we packed up the trailer with our goodies, we headed out to our old favorite Chinese food place near our old rental townhouse. It was quite the loop to drive but we knew their food was tasty and it would be a well-earned Father’s Day treat for Hubby. Keep in mind that all this time Junior is strapped in his car seat, so far keeping calm and happy. We pick up the food and head back to the highway to get home. Boy, were we hungry and all we could smell was our dinner!

20 minutes from home chaos ensued when a trailer tire blew while we were passing another car. We are sooooo lucky that the tire did not hit them since it went flying. I was able to pull over, and oddly, Hubby stayed relaxed and in a good mood (he would usually not be so impressed with such a situation). And within 10 minutes the tire was changed and with minimal screaming too (from Junior, not Hubby). We finally got home, scarfed down some delicious food and then my dad came to pick up the trailer. I think Hubby was glad to see it go. As the door shut behind them, I headed upstairs with a tired baby and Hubby’s socks and then pants came off as he headed to the mancave to relax.