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The Problem With My Screen Door…

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So when the hot weather arrived, we threw open the front door, tossed open the back french doors and the most wonderful cross breeze flowed through the house.  Sadly our dogs quickly discovered the magic of a non locking screen door.  You push… and it opens.  I’ve had to chase my dog out the door as she gallops away to greet neighbours walking down the street or as our dogs leap at my temporarily crippled mother with her cast-like boot (insert a mental image of me yelling “NOOOOO!” as they lurch through the air to give her kisses).

I’ve added a chain and hook inside to prevent the dogs from leaving the house, but this also prevents outsiders from getting in… not that it stops their attempts at getting in, and this is where my crafty project comes in.  Guests and friends don’t realize the door is latched and they yank on the door causing damage to the door, the latch and the hinges etc.  So I’ve made a sign to hang on the outside to warn possible “enterers” (yes “enterers” is now a word).

The picture pretty much lays it out for you:

1. create a stencil with wax paper or print out your template.

2. cut out your stencil.

3. paint your stencil onto your wood.

4. hang sign on door.

Hubby is on his way home now, I wonder if it will work.

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Birthday Wish List

Birthday Wish List

As the round of birthdays are fast approaching (august for both Hubby and I), I find myself contemplating what I want for my birthday. No matter what I think of, it is something for the house, not really something for myself. New clothespins, an apple or weeping willow tree, drywall for my craft room walls… etc. Its amazing how we go from asking for popular toys as kids, gift certificates to the mall as a teen, to a case of beer as an adult. Now as a homeowner, my wishlists, to-do lists and honey-do lists all revolve around fixing up, improving, repairing or removing things around the house or the yard. So I’m trying to really think about what I want that doesn’t scream “I just bought a house and need stuff”. Today I witnessed a few swallows hanging out on the clothes line, and I think a bird house would be nice. But do you do single family? A swallow birdhouse/mansion is usually huge, and would probably need it’s own pole as I doubt our poor old clothes line post could handle the weight. Or maybe a bat house. I’m sure hubby would love anything that will host critters that will reduce the amount of bugs out here (I’ll save hubby’s displeasure with the bugs to another post). I’ll have to put more thought into it, although to simply be able to plant a tree each year would make me happy.

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It’s Fence Time

It's Fence Time

Tis the season! The sun has come out, and its the first haying cut of the season, which means our neighbour and past owner of the house will be cutting the back field. While he was owner of this house, he actually used the back third of the property as his field, so we’ve got hay where we’d eventually like grass. Since we love our neighbours, and they seem to love us, our farmer has been cutting the hay in time for us to start construction on our black chain link fence that was delivered to us last week. Over $4000 in fencing and we still need to install it ourselves. We have over 80 posts to install and over 14 rolls of chainlink.
Day one of install went slow, painfully slow as my dad, and captain of construction, who is a perfectionist took his time to measure and set the first few poles in order to line us up properly for the rest. Hubby, my father in law, and our friend grappled with the two man auger, and dug all the holes for the cemented poles and my step mother and I helped pour cement and level posts. It was a hot and sweltering day and we didn’t get a quarter of the work done. We knew it was a major project but we didn’t realize just how slow it was going to be. BUT when you want something done right, take your time, make sure it’s done perfectly and it will last for many years. My dad will be returning tonight to help take down a dead tree from our neighbours yard that looks like it will have a death wish to land on our future fence. (I procured permission from our neighbours by bringing them a banana bread fresh from the oven, and we even get to keep the wood when the tree comes down). Hopefully within a week or two I can finally post a picture of the actual fence… but right now our yard is just a perimeter of poles sticking out of the ground.

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Our Lawn Tractor

mowerSummer is in full swing, our grass was starting to go to seed and our lawn mower had yet to arrive. True to form, my dad came to our financial rescue with one of his frankenstein creations. I’m not sure how old the tractor is, or even what make it is. But it is bright orange, the labels are hand written on as years of wear and tear have faded any semblance of instructions, and it puffs black smoke out it’s side when worked too hard. Oh and did I mention it backfires when you finally shut it down after a hard days work, like one final fart out of an old man after his workshift. My dad and my grandfather had put much love into the machine, and it was finally delivered two Friday’s ago (life with a baby means blogging takes a back seat). My dad and I did a few rounds of the yard that night and our neighbours must have hated us as we chugged across the yard at 9pm at night. The next day, Hubby’s day off, we attempted to slay the grass (aka. the hay field). After a few rounds of the yard, Frankenstein up and died and as I sat in it’s seat, swearing up a storm and banging my head against it’s steering wheel in utter frustration, our neighbour across the way, true to country neighbourliness, came to the rescue. As we couldn’t figure out what was wrong, he decided to help us out by bringing his mower over to lend a hand. Soon he was back with his shiny mower, looking like it was straight from the Sears catalogue, and soon enough, after twice around our “field”, his machine died. He had the genius idea to boost it, thinking it was the battery, and soon we had both machines up and running again after a boost from my truck. Hubby and the neighbour slogged through the long grass, both machines suffering with the length, but soon enough disaster struck again and the neighbour’s mower quit, this time for good. A cracked engine block. Frankenstein soon followed, luckily just needing another boost. I think we boosted Frankenstein 4 times that day, and Hubby had to help our neighbour push his mower back across the road. We’re thankful to have such great neighbours, who admit that they hadn’t maintained their mower before the season, and didn’t blame us or the long grass at all (although I’m sure offering to hack away at our field must have sped up their machines demise). After several hours the lawn was cut.
The next day we were out raking the grass trimmings that blanketed the lawn, and re-mowing areas of grass that had bogged down under the weight of our machine. Hubby and his friend had to drive my truck to the back of our property several times in order to boost Frankenstein where he died without warning whenever he felt like it.
Last night we had our neighbours over to thank them and we provided a feast of pulled pork sandwiches from the smoker and my dad’s famous three bean casserole. And today Hubby mowed the lawn again (this time much easier since it’s a “normal” length now) and Frankenstein weathered it like an old champ. After his initial boost to get started there was no dying, no furtherboosting and only with minimal black smoke and one signature back fire fart when he quit. (the tractor, not hubby)

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A Great Country Idea

A Great Country Idea

A neighbour and friend of mine gave me a great tip to keep my clothes pins from flying all over my yard and to keep them dry when being stored outside. My present mode of storage was an old plastic strainer that would blow over with any gust of wind, scattering the clothespins throughout the lawn and under the deck. My stash of pins was steadily diminishing since each time this would happen, I would come up with fewer pins from my search. My friend suggested a hanging planter to house them. Low and behold this past weekend, while out yard sale hunting with her I came across a planter (since I only purchased a flat of coleus plants this year I didn’t have one in my stash of junk in the garage). For 25 cents I picked it up and it fits perfectly on my clothesline elevator. Although it’s hidden by our meat smoker right now, but until we can build our dream deck, space will be limited. The holes in the pot allow for rain water to drain away and the hook is great for convenience. Now I need to head back to the dollar store for more clothes pins.

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Another Wild (and disgusting) Encounter

Another Wild (and disgusting) Encounter

While working in the garden one day, my mom and I encountered a bug that literally made my skin crawl. This “thing” was waddling in circles around the top of my rain barrel and looked to be about 4″ long. The front legs looked like little shovels and it’s beady ears looked around for it’s next victim. I quickly took to Google to solve the mystery and came up with it’s name. “The Giant Water Bug is one of the largest insects in the U.S. and Canada. Giant water bugs are approximately 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length. Some species grow as long as 4 inches (10 cm). Because it often turns up under street lights and porch lights, it is also one of the most asked about insects. It is commonly mistaken for a beetle or even a cockroach. Alternate names include toe biter because they can deliver a nasty bite, and electric light bug because they are attracted to lights.”….Toe biter? Are you kidding me? I will be tapping out my rain boots before sticking my feet inside from now on! Maybe the most disgusting thing about the whole ordeal was that once I had posted this picture to my Facebook page a friend of mine said her son pulled out a tin box he had, and inside was the body of one of these monsters. He had found one and kept it in his room.

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Headboard Bench

Headboard Bench

One of my Pinterest projects I’ve had my eye on for a while was the headboard bench… the headboard becomes the back of a bench and the footboard, once split in half become the sides. Well a while back, before we moved from our townhouse, a friend and I spotted a beautiful headboard in the garbage. Not one to be above such things as dumpster diving, we carried it back and it sat half hidden behind a couch for almost a ear (hubby was none too impressed). But I knew it was destined to become a bench, I just needed the time, money, space, tools… etc to make it happen. Well, the time finally came and with help from my moms partner we tossed on a seat, screwed in some supports and slapped on some Tungsten coloured paint to make this awesome masterpiece that now sits on my front porch. I’ll be in the market for a cushion for it, and maybe some outdoor pillows but for now, its perfect for sitting with a coffee, putting on boots, or for reading a book. The project was quite easy with the right tools, really you just need a drill, some screws and a saw to cut the footboard, I encourage everyone to give it a whirl!

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The Clothesline

The Clothesline

Out here in the country, one needs to be a few things. Crafty, hard working and thrifty are the main ones. And I’m pretty sure whoever invented clothesline had to have all three of those qualities. It’s bittersweet that I’ve inherited my moms old clothesline elevator (the part that you raise and lower the line with) because as a kid, it was another chore I disliked, the hanging of the clothes. But now, in our country house, with hydro bills that are nearly $200 a month, the clothesline will become our best friend. Not only does it dry our knickers, but hopefully it will save us money, not to mention my arms are getting a work out. It’s only the beginning of May and the warm weather today has dried two loads of laundry, this last one being a bin full of cloth diapers that I scored. The sun naturally bleaches any stains and soon Junior will be scooting about with a fashionable bum. Hubby won’t be too pleased to know that a few shirts and socks have flown off in the wind only to be trampled by the dogs in the mud, but one or two casualties are worth the economical savings that our clothesline will bring us.

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A front porch

A front porch

Today I had a friend and her baby come to visit. The house always seems to have a guest or two and it certainly keeps me busy. The extra hands are great to help out, or to simply enjoy some wine with. Today, my friend and I stuffed our babies in strollers and hiked down the country road. Our road is usually a very hard compacted gravel, almost as smooth as pavement, but today, of all days, they decided to re-grade the road leaving about 4 inches of soft mushy sand to walk in. Then truck after truck went by us spraying water on the new road to keep the dust down. I was stubborn and made my friend keep hiking, the wheels of the strollers wobbling in the muck. A good spirit and one up for adventure, she never complained. She asked me if I felt isolated out in the country (a question that seems to come up from every city friend we have) and I described getting to know our neighbours, getting phone calls from farmers down the street checking in, or how the lady across the street knows when we have visitors since she knows what cars come and go in our laneway. I described having a sore arm from waving at every passing car (something we were doing with each one that passed us) and at how we sometimes have 2-3 friends visiting on any given day. By the time we got back home, we decided to lounge in camp chairs on my front porch while our kids snoozed and not 20 minutes later a car pulled in our laneway. It was my neighbour from a few blocks away, stopping in to check on us. She stayed and chatted for a while before heading home. I’m looking forward to spending more time on our front porch, waving at cars, reading books, holding a snoozing Junior on my lap. In the city a front porch is used for a planter, maybe a welcome mat and that’s about it. A country porch on the other hand is the hub of a welcome committee. It’s the place to view the neighbourhood, to watch kids ride by on bicycles and to, of course, wave at every passing car. Tomorrow I’m bottling wine with some friends… which will of course be consumed while on the porch, and in our garage sits a half finished wooden bench which will become the future spot for flyer reading and coffee enjoying these coming summer months.

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Life With A Baby

Life With A Baby

Life has certainly been turned upside down. For the longest time I pictured being the organized mom, the mom that got all the sleep, the mom who flipped pancakes with one hand while I held a slumbering babe in the other. I pictured him breastfeeding, looking lovingly up into my eyes as I flipped the pages of the morning newspaper, and I imagined cloth diapers from the start to save the world!

No one can prepare you for reality. When Junior was born, he had to be on an IV for a few days at the hospital, and they needed him eating right away so he has taken to drinking formula from a bottle, and with each passing day he rejects my breast even more. I am now a slave to a breast pump, where I am hardly getting more than a few drops to add to his formula. When I put Junior to breast he cries, pushes away and scratches, the whole time looking around for the bottle that he knows will come. Many a tear has been shed, not only for my shattered dreams of breastfeeding perfection but also for the fact that I feel my baby rejecting the most natural thing I can give him. I’ve been pumping as much as possible to get my supply up, but on a 2 hour pump schedule, and Junior being on a 3 hour feeding schedule, I feel I hardly have time to pee, let alone sterilize bottles, mix formula, change my stale-milk smelly clothes or shower. Notice I didn’t even mention trying to get any semblance of sleep. Hubby has reassured me that if breastfeeding isn’t going to happen, that he will support me, but I am indeed devastated.

Sleep as never been my strong suit. I’m a light sleeper by nature, and so I thought, what could possibly be so hard? Well, with a Junior’s schedule of being fussy and awake at night, and every coo, fart or whimper I am awake. “Nap when they nap” is for sure the key, but I have yet to learn how to do that, as when I do catch a whiff of freedom while Junior sleeps, there is laundry to do, food to prep and dogs to care for, and by the time I sit down, Junior is cooing softly for attention.

Cloth diapers haven’t yet made it out of the box and we’re going through disposables like crazy. I find the cloth diapers are huge and bulky on him, and I think I will give it a few weeks before saddling Junior with a giant bum blanket.

All the Grandmas have been out to help in one way or another. Food prep, watching Junior while I catch a nap, or putting together my clothes line has all been grand feats that would not have been accomplished without them. Hubby and I are slowly getting into a schedule, but it’s been hard, and we have begrudgingly accepted all the help we can get.

But it all comes down to the sweet baby boy who is now sleeping in Hubby’s arms (hubby is also asleep), who we would not trade for the world. His quivering chin when he cries, the soft cooing of happiness, the funny faces he makes, and the loud rolling belches he gives us during burping, are all things we will treasure forever. Sleep can come another day. Laundry can wait. But our baby boy will be cherished and loved no matter what.

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