Sunday, June 28, 2009

lumpy landings

Yesterday did not get off to a good start. I stepped outside to check the dogs and went airborne off the stairs. I landed just outside the left frame of this picture.How nothing got broken I don't know. Just some scrapes and what I suspect will become a lot of stunning bruises. I'm feeling pretty stiff today. note to self....don't wear Crocs on wood that has a layer of dry clay topped with some fresh rain. It's like snot.

It was not a good "dog" day, either.

Now, on to more fun stuff.

While we still had the use of Tom's skidsteer last week we continued some cleanup and various projects around the place. One job was the revamp of the fuel shed. Amongst the junk we removed from it was this old brass fire extinguisher. Too cool to throw away.As I took pictures of that job...Art took a picture of me taking pictures.Job done. Take me home, Jeeves.This is one of those "oops" moments. I'm far from being a master of the skidsteer and sometimes a sudden jerk can make an entire load slide off. I was attempting to move this pile of OSB and .... well .... it's slippery stuff.Art was annoyed, but after I got out to assess the situation and pause for a moment, I said "well, there's only one thing to do at a time like this" and pulled out my camera. He wasn't quite so mad after that.

The local arena is being renovated and they were throwing away all these heavy duty doors. Art has just the project in mind for those, so we made a pretty good score.Did I mention the cows are back? Well, with them comes a LOT of dung which Xena thinks is okey dokey. Not only is it green and smelling fine, but it can be very becoming when worn just right!After the skidsteer was gone, it was time to get ours going again. It's been dead for awhile. Art rebuilt the carb (I helped) and installed it (I helped).Note how Cleo is right there, underfoot?She does that alot we've noticed. She's not as equipment savvy as Xena, so we have to be careful to not run over her. But at every job we're doing she's right there. The drilling of post holes (picture on my last post....which I can't believe no one commented on, by the way), cutting wood on the saw ..... Don't fall for those sad eyes.So, our skidsteer started up right away after the new carb was put in. Yay! All that's left is this grease spot where it sat for the last long while.Unfortunately, it's now up on blocks again because the chain that drives the wheels on one side has broken. That repair should only take a day or two and this time it's not blocking the driveway.

We've been getting some rain (and cold) lately along with booming thunder and lightning. When it really crashes, the dogs bark, like they can chase it away.After a good rainstorm (and it's dried a little), the dirt is like a fresh layer of talcum powder. Animal footprints show up really well. When we went for our morning walk, we found these tracks leading all the way down our driveway. They look a lot like human barefeet. They are from a black bear.The next day, after seeing these, we were on our walk again and my heart lept into my throat when I saw something big and black in the trees not far from us. Turned out to be a cow, but boy did it give me a fright!

Speaking of going for walks .... look what I dug out of storage.10 years ago I used to run. I miss it. Sara has inspired me to be more active and I'd like to work towards getting back to running (don't worry, I'll walk a little more first).

I had occasion to do some sewing the other day, so pulled this out.It used to belong to my Mom. She was a pretty accomplished seamstress and made many of our clothes when we were kids. The sound of it whirring brings back many memories of her working through the night on some project or other. And it used to mess with the TV reception (in the days of rabbit ears, before cablevision) so she could only sew during the commercial breaks of the Saturday night hockey games or my Dad would be yelling. Anyhow, when she wanted to trade it in on a new one, with fancy zig-zag stitches and all, I begged her to give it to me instead. I'm glad she did.

This is a spider plant that my friend Rhoda gave me. It used to look so much better. Ewie has taken a sudden interest in it and keeps chewing bits off. Years ago, Chickie used to go crazy for one of these and I had to hang it where she couldn't get it. I did some research to see if it was poisonous and learned that for some cats it is just like catnip. Chickie seems to be over that fetish and for months this plant has been undisturbed. But now Ewie is after it.I found a suitable substitute for my favourite coffee, Starbucks French Roast. At least it'll hold me over until our next trip to Costco.I've tried several of the dark roasts they sell in the stores here and they are all crap (in my opinion). Too acidic. This may seem extreme, but I don't brew it like Espresso. I just use it as I would normal coffee and it is quite wonderful. Wonderful indeed!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Josee Josie

I'm sorry you haven't heard from me lately, but we've been very busy. Seems the to-do list is long and the season is short, so we are always on the go. When I do have a spare moment I'm researching my family tree. Proving to be a little bit obsessive about that. I'm not really doing anything else. I take pictures, but not fervently....more for documentation of the work we're doing. I don't have any knit or crochet projects going. Maybe more balance is required. We took the D-Day weekend off, and I was just wiped out.

We built 3 gates. One on the road to "Gramma's" .... (before) ........ (after) ....One near the house .... (before) ........ (after) ....And one at the entrance to our driveway from Savory Road. Art has those pictures on his blog.

There was a lot of drilling post holes ....cutting boards ....and haulin' stuff around. Art was getting tired, so Xena took over the driving for awhile.We even stopped to watch this guy (actually, there were two, but one had gone into the trees) cross the field nearby.It was very tiring ....and thirsty work ....
But all in all, very satisfying.One day in there we had a visit from Viki's parents, Al and Jean (Vicki is Cleo's former Mom). They came to see Cleo, but I'm pretty sure they also came to see us (wink).It was funny because Jean is obviously not crazy about the dogs being all over her, but they were loving her to death.

The boards we've been using to build the gates are off this old shed. It's the one that was holding up that tree that fell down a few months ago.The planks are fir and have a natural weather-worn beauty, so we're going to clear-coat them rather than paint. Slowly, this monstrosity of a building is disappearing. Here it is from a different angle. There are still two more trees growing up through the middle of it. One is dead, so it will have to come down soon.All of this gate/fence building has been in aid of the return of the cows.and evidence of their return is obviousThe gate project was a good one, but I have two complaints. I don't work well in the heat, but it kind of came and went, so it wasn't horrible horrible. Actually, Art found my sweaty dirty face amusing so posted a quite UN-flattering picture on his blog. Yeesh! My second complaint is the *&%$! black flies. They were thick at times and although I was well protected with bug repellant on exposed skin, I forgot to put it on UNDER my clothes. Black flies are insidious. They crawl into your hair and under collars and up pantlegs. I don't feel them bite, but am left with golf ball welts. I hate them.But the bugs here are nothing compared to those farther north. A few years back we went to the Northwest Territories in June and holy cow, I couldn't talk while walking outside for fear of the bugs getting in my mouth. This is the repellant they sell in the stores.The bottle on the left is what you can buy here and in the south. Nothing stronger than around 24% deet. The bottle on the right .... 95%. It melts plastic. Amazing stuff. You might not even be able to buy it anymore, who knows.

Other things that are new.... Cleo is becoming less afraid of water. There's a picture above where she is drinking from Art's cup. Xena is showing her that it's fun to drink from the hoseand little by little Cleo is getting closer and closer.The garden is growing like mad. All the veggies are doing very well, but also the lilacs are in full, glorious bloom.I love lilacs so much and they really thrive here. The whole of outside is sweet with their aroma. Last year I mail ordered some live plants called "Josee". Part of the attraction was their name (I have a niece named Josie). They didn't arrive until late Fall and I wasn't sure they'd make it. We put them in a tire, covered them with moss and I kept my fingers crossed. Come Spring they didn't look too good. I think 3 of them are sticks, but the 4th has made a comeback.It's uplifting to see because 2 weeks ago Josie (my niece) was badly injured in a boating accident, her foot close to being severed by the propeller. It's sad because she's young and active and vibrant, but this summer isn't going to be a lot of fun with a tough recovery ahead. So, every day, when I go out to check the progress of my little Josee and protect it the best I can, I think of Josie.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

a quick update

Art and I have been working like dogs the past while. Making hay while the sun shines, as it were. The neighbours' cows snuck in one day, which prompted us to repair fences, which lead to installing gates. Two done .... one to go (some pictures on Art's blog, more to follow here). When we started it was cold and snowing, now it's almost too hot to be out there (I'm getting sunburn on my arms). It's only been a week or so. Crazy.

We only have use of the skidsteer for a few more days, so we don't want to waste the opportunity. We've been so busy, there's just been no time for anything else, including doing the dishes and stuff. Inside the house kinda looks like a bomb went off.

So, we've booked this coming weekend off. Saturday is the 65th anniversary of D-Day, so we are honouring the occasion by unplugging the phone, watching war movies on TV and eating junk food .... all day. Sunday .... ditto.