Much to be Thankful For

The Thanksgiving weekend is drawing to a close and I thought updating the blog site with a list of thankful thoughts might be appropriate. There are some of them that are materialist but interwoven is the quality of life out here and how this project is family focused.
This summer we didn’t have a lot of great weather to be thankful for and September wasn’t really much better. The odd one or two days of sun followed by stupid amounts of rain. And then finally, for which we all offer great thanks, the sun came back!! We’ve had the better part of two weeks of the best weather we have had since two days in April. It’s been just the thing for farmers, roofers, road guys, siding and painting “experts” and even dogs. It is actually supposed to last until next weekend which will be fabulous if it does as there is always more outside work than there are nice days. The sun sets now by about 7:00 so projects have to wrap up fairly early and on work days most often can’t even get commenced.
country sunset.jpg
The pictures never seem to do sunsets justice but we do get some beautiful ones out here and yes we do sit and watch them.
During the seriously rainy season we had two expected deliveries that we were anxiously awaiting. One was the four storm doors that we had custom ordered from a mill in Ontario. They arrived in a semi – the long story short – by the time he drove up and down our road 4 times the road was pretty much toast. It was too wet for that kind of traffic – we were really lucky as he just avoided going into the ditch on the low spot. The doors were unloaded and look totally fabulous. Now we are just trying to find a talented carpenter who has the time to mortise the hinges and hang the doors. They, of course, still need to be stained on the inside and painted on the outside as well as having the glass inserted. We’d love to have them up for winter but I don’t think any of us should hold our breath for this one.
storm door delivery.jpg
I can’t seem to find the picture of the four doors but I did find the one of the semi finally backed up and Ron out to help unload. You can actually see the rain just pelting down.
The other delivery that we had been waiting on for quite some time was that of the cedar siding and shingles. It did not occur to our yard – both the grid road and our own road were just too water logged and soft to have a B-train roll in and out. To the rescue once again – our good friend Peter Royer. He has a large yard with his landscaping company and isn’t far from the highway so the load went there as over in that neck of the woods it is very sandy and dries up so quickly. They sat there for about 3 weeks and he said that his yard had never smelled so good!
bobcat loading shingle bundle.jpg
The leaves were already starting to turn but the grass was as green as could be when we brought home the shingles and siding.As you can see the load looks a bit precarious.
The road was finally dry, Peter’s larger trailer was available as was his bobcat for loading and Spencer was available as the unloading was all done by hand bomb! This was a new term to me but I understood it by the time we loaded part of the siding on by hand after the two big packs went on, then the shingles were loaded by bobcat (that was a bit scary with it teetering 6 feet up in the air but Peter’s bobcat operator is a very experienced man and knew exactly what he was doing) and we strapped it to within an inch of its life! Then we began the slow trip between Peter’s place south of the city and ours north east of the city.
trailer full of cedar.jpg
AND then we hand bombed it all off!! I’m so thankful that Ron and Spencer are tall strong men. I did my share but lifting the bundles above my head wasn’t an easy task so I just stuck to the bottom of the pallet building blocks. It took us a fair amount of time to get it unstacked and put away in the garage. But then our yard got to smell as good as Peter’s had! So this meant that we could finally call our roofing contractor and tell him we had our old growth cedar straight from the mill. He had some other projects to finish and it rained a bit but finally during this wonderful weather our roofers arrived to do the garage. It looks totally awesome!! They’ve been seriously behind because of the weather and so Lloyd split his crew up to work on two jobs so some days there were only 2 or 3 here but this weekend they pulled in every single day with 5 guys and finished it off this afternoon. The bill hurt but hey I’m thankful that professionals did this job so I’ll go to work to pay it off! We shared some of our turkey, buns and pie with them last evening when they finally quit work and I think they were thankful for that as it had been a long day and there was no family dinners waiting for them. So that felt good to share a part of our wonderful meal.
commencing garage roof.jpg
This shows the roof at commencement stage with just the first few “difficult” rows done. The truth is that the roof line made most of the lines/rows a challenge! I don’t have a completed picture of it but will try to do that for the next blog.
You will note in this picture that the garage also has windows and Typar paper. We are very thankful to Ron’s brother Gary and to Spencer for both donating the weekend to get all 9 windows in. It worked well that the scaffolding was in place for the shingles for the loft windows. The project went well and really changes the look of the garage – it’s so much lighter inside with all those windows on the main floor. I guess having said that though when we actually put on doors it will get darker again but we’ll be thankful then that the winter can’t come in.
garage loft window.jpg
This shows a close up of the double windows in the loft area.
Another item that we have been very thankful for is the the big “green” sea can that we have used courtesy of VCM Construction Limited. It seems like it has been a part of the whole restoration project but early pictures don’t have It on the edge of the driveway and as of tomorrow it will be gone. It has been an awesome storage facility but it is now going back to active duty and just in time we got the roof shingled, the windows in and soon doors in place. So we have unloaded the sea can contents which was mostly garage type stuff. It also had a fair amount of horse “stuff” as well as Ron’s missing golf shoes and my old construction shoes! Some small things to be thankful for!
garage interior before stuff.jpg
It doesn’t look like this anymore – we have the old work bench from our garage and a couple of shelving units full to the brim. Perhaps the reason for so much land was because someone doesn’t like to throw anything out!!
So this weekend Ron, Spencer and Taylor worked on the siding for the garage – as much as could be done at this point in time. I did manage to squeeze in there and get the window trim primed before they got the boards on which will be nice come painting time. It is kind of a tough spot to work on as the retaining wall isn’t there and the ground is not very even but it didn’t really slow the guys down. This project high lights the biggest THANKFUL on my list – Ron’s smarts and skills. He figured out the siding required for both the house and the garage and then goes to work cutting and installing – confident in his math skills. As a project manager I have a really good carpenter working for me – his rate of pay doesn’t even break the bank (but some of his ideas do!)
garage siding Taylor and RKC.jpg
Ron and Taylor working on the north garage siding. It is now complete – that will at least keep out the worst of the winter wind even if we don’t get it insulated.
Another area that is now more weather proof is the walk out of the house. This wall has had Typar blowing around on it since the first year – tacked on with boards and many layers of tuck tape. So once the siding showed up Ron and I took a week off to get some work accomplished. The weather didn’t cooperate very well and we dug a trench (BIG THANKS for Spencer showing up one night for supper and digging about 1/3 of the trench for me! I’m rather glad I don’t do that kind of manual labor for a living) for the flashing in cold wet miserable weather. We got the flashing up, trench back filled and then started on the finicky trim boards. FINALLY we got rolling on the siding and a few days later we were complete to the first floor trim board (which we need a different flashing piece for that we couldn’t order until we reached that stage).The quality of the siding and the shingles has been outstanding.
trenching with flashing.jpg
Ah yes the joys of trench work – if it wasn’t recorded in a picture no one would ever be any the wiser that it had been done.
So this weekend with the weather holding and my back having improved radically I spent a bit of time priming the walk out. It’s a darn shame that there is so much prep work – sanding, cleaning, filling and sanding holes and organizing paint supplies. I am thankful that I got the primer on but white isn’t my favorite color and I so wanted to get some of the ginger root started/finished before winter set in! If the weather holds this week I’ll get back on it later in the week when I am off. I’m thankful for my persistence as well but sometimes my impatience gets the better of me!! I can envision it “so” and want it to happen sooner than later! AGAIN – I’m so thankful for Ron’s patience, talent and persistence – he always seems to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and curbs my impatience to have this or that project complete.
walk out with primer.jpg
The walk out with the primer on – now imagine it gingerroot with green trim (see June blog for colors) and the ugly Herbie siding gone.
I love how it looks but know to get the whole house looking like this is going to take the whole summer of 2011 as we have to take of the “Herbie” siding, the old cedar siding, the ship-lap, insulate, replace the ship lap, put up the siding, prime and two coats of paint. Intermingled with that will be the staining and varnishing of the inside of the windows – this project can only happen on days when it is nice enough to open windows but that usually means I am outside working on something else. We did manage to get the 17 ones on the main floor stained on our week off but not varnished. They seem a bit dark but I think that with the varnish they will blend a bit better. We will be so thankful this winter when the wind doesn’t whistle through windows!
window stain with succulent bowl.jpg
The picture isn’t the best quality one as it doesn’t show that much of the window but you can see that the trim is stained. You can also see one of the lovely succulent bowls that I grew this summer – still trying to figure out how desert plants did so well in such a rainy season but hey I’m happy about it.
The garden this year was not a bountiful harvest – carrots and potatoes and cabbage and parsnips long gone by Thanksgiving. The tomato harvest was bountiful but once we got it inside all of it did the blight thing and we salvaged very few. Special thanks to Mom and Brad for showing up with a huge bag of garden carrots (for that I feed them a pretty darn good thanksgiving meal!). I’m thankful that Alyssa did the tilling today and that the weeds we have stared at all summer (and gave up on due to the never ending rain) are gone!! We are hopeful that with a bit of topsoil, less rain and more sun maybe the garden will prosper next year.
Alyssa tilling garden.jpg
Above the garden area that Alyssa is tilling you can see 2 of the 4 trees that we planted this year. They came from the garden of a nurse that I worked with for many years – she got them from Spruce Meadows when they were tiny little seedlings. They grew quite a bit this year.
The other 2 trees that we planted this year didn’t do as well – or so we think at this point in time. I guess the final verdict will be whether or not they come back in the spring. We did a tiny bit of landscaping in the circular part of the driveway. We had our wonderful neighbor Kevin over one Sunday afternoon with his tractor. Ron had Peter’s bobcat and between the two of them they didn’t give up until they had moved the biggest rock we have into “its” spot. Then we moved a few more for effect. Then of course it rained again and the weeds grew in there but hopefully next spring we can actually get a few hardy prairie type plants established in there. Of course Lucky and Breeze do like to lay and dig in there but I did say hardy plants!
rock moving sunday.jpg
Ron had tried a couple of times before to move the rock with the bobcat but needed a big green machine to push while he lifted. Kevin thought it was fun!
Our puppies do make us happy and we are thankful that they are pretty well behaved. They have taken a road trip this summer and had to be picked up from our neighbors yard. They’ve been in burrs, dirty water and maybe had too many cow pies. Breeze dropped quite a bit of weight and wasn’t well for a while – partly from maybe one of those above causes and partly from an old shoulder injury that seems to be causing some old age pain. But she seems to be on the mend and they do love to hang out together.
the dogs under table.jpg
For whatever reason they both look sad in this picture but really they are happy dogs. It’s very tough to get two dogs looking the same way for a picture without moving!
Another thankful – it would appear that I haven’t lost a picture or any text even though the computer has been a bit finicky lately. It never seems like much progress until I sit down and pick out pictures and start adding text – then I realize that yes we did get somewhere this summer. Besides the project we also got to Douglas Lake camping with friends, to Calgary to watch Alyssa ride and to visit with family there, to Victoria for a surprise 25th wedding anniversary where a good time was had by all and to Ron’s 30th engineering reunion in Calgary. I was lucky enough to go to Halifax on a work conference.
feet in atlantic ocean.jpg
OK – the Atlantic Ocean is seriously cold!! Like seriously!! But it was exciting to see and Halifax is a great city that I want to explore again with Ron.
On a final lucky note – several people have suggested that we do an aerial shot so that they could get the house/land layout in their mind. Well when we took off from Saskatoon the clouds broke – I had my camera handy and low and behold. There was our land and our house – I was pretty excited. It isn’t the best quality picture but you can see our road leading into our garage and house.
our quarter section.jpg
I tried to crop the picture so the bottom is the start of our land but really it is the road that starts our south boundary – the two water features are on the north end of our quarter section. Maybe some day we will be able to get a picture from a small plane that will be slightly better quality.
PS – Check out the last two pictures.
garage wall primed.jpg
The weather was nice today, the prep work went easy and the priming of the north wall of the garage is complete. Yahoo!! So pleased to get it done before the weather deteriorated.
cleo and tony.jpg
This is a picture of my surprise anniversary present to Ron. Two ginger kitties – they match our dogs in color but they haven’t “linked” up yet! So the bigger one is Cleo and the little one is Tony (the tiger). I wanted Mork and Mindy but it was his gift so his choice. They will be fun and entertaining and do good things against the rodent population.

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3 Responses to Much to be Thankful For

  1. Karin Closson says:

    Looks amazing Bernie!! You guys are doing such a great job!


  2. Peggi says:

    Good work on getting all that priming done today. Love the name Cleo and Tony, they are absolutely adorable!! Thanks for the hospitality and wine last night, see you soon.


  3. Pat says:

    The quilt is amazing and really finishes off your bedroom. Your photos of the house and the surroundings become more artistic with each post!


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