Thursday, February 15, 2018

More Projects

It's quite a few years ago now but I remember asking son David what he was looking at on his laptop, that he was finding all these different vehicles and auto parts.  And so I was introduced to Craigslist...
And I was smitten....
Poor Larry, I dragged him all over the countryside, and Vancouver, picking up this and that and the other thing.  Some free, some not, but all of them a bargain in some way or another.  The Craigslist fever did fade out a bit, but every once in a while I'd find something else that I thought we needed.  Sometimes I'd go on my own to pick something up.  I'd always leave the address of where I was going, and in the last few years now that we both have a cell phone, I'd text him when I got there and again when I left.  Never once have I felt unsafe, but I'm very aware of the situation and remain on my guard.

Not long ago I heard of Bidding Wars.  Abbotsford has it's own Bidding Wars page on Facebook.  People list their items with a starting bid, the location to pick it up, and people have 24 hours to bid on it.  
Oh dear, I'm hooked.  I have sold quite a few things myself, in fact the dollar value of what I have sold may exceed what I have bought, maybe....Well since I haven't kept track of what I have bought, and some were bought  traded for eggs instead of money, I can't be sure, but I can convince myself that the amounts must be close.πŸ˜‚

I thought about it the other day.  I think there are only two things at Wyndson Cottage in Oliver that were bought brand new.  The tv was one, although it's not that we couldn't have found a good second hand tv.  Between Craigslist, garage sales, thrift shops, what we had extra at home, and now Bidding Wars, we have furnished the whole place, everything, all the kitchen stuff, tools, everything.

I mentioned we took up a bathroom cabinet on our last trip.  The bathroom is tiny.  In the picture below I am stood in the doorway.  The floor space is 5'x 4.5'.  There used to be one of those cabinet things that had legs that went up either side of the toilet with storage space above.  Next to the other end of the bath was a tall 1' x1' shelving unit.  We took half of that shelving unit away, and the shorter one didn't seem so overbearing in the tiny room.  I never liked the over the toilet one, but since there was no storage under the original sink, we needed the space.
Putting up the 'new' cabinet over the toilet was our first project.  I paid $4 for that on the bidding war site.  

Simple you'd think.  Just screw the cabinet to the wall.  But like most home improvement projects, they are never as simple as they seem.  The backing on the cabinet was a flimsy thin particle board held on with a few tiny nails. The backing was not something we wanted to count on to keep the heavy particleboard cupboard in place.  We borrowed a few brackets from the old cabinet.  Larry thought that since it was so heavy it should have a wood support under it.  We found a thin piece and then found a better piece, screwed it into the studs and screwed the cabinet to it.  Better but not great.  That next morning we went to the Kiwanis market and found a bag of brackets for $3, and they were white and looked great and ended up using those and removing the supporting piece of wood underneath.

The cottage had a fridge when we bought it.  It was big and older, almond colour with dark trim. It seemed to run a lot, and seemed loud too. We wanted a smaller, newer one.  I found one on Bidding Wars.  The freezer door had quite a dent in it, like something had fallen into it and then fallen to the ground.  There was some interest, but bidding didn't go very high.  I had perfected my bidding technique I thought.  I wouldn't show any interest in an item, and then would bid in the last few seconds and was mostly successful.  With the fridge I cut it too close and was a second late. But, the seller wanted it gone that weekend, and the buyer was unable to move it until during the next week.  So it was offered to me for the winning bid, which was $14!! We went and got it right way, I wasn't passing that up.  I had the perfect fridge magnets for covering up the dent in the door!!

The smaller fridge also made for easier access to the light switches for the utility room, kitchen and dining area.  We changed two of them around and had the dining area as the most awkward one to reach behind the fridge.  We can leave that one on, and just turn the light on and off by the chain hanging from the ceiling fan. We also took off the trim along the edge of the counter, cut off an inch overhang of the counter next to the fridge, and put the trim back up.  With the narrower fridge and the  counter trimming we gained about 5" of floor space and as a result exposed two of the light switches. A big deal in that little house.

Since we had to transport the fridge on it's side, we left it standing up outside for a day and a half before we brought it in.  We plugged it in, and the darn thing just kept running and running, and things inside were starting to freeze up.  I unplugged it that night, and then next day we went though the same thing.  That night instead of unplugging it, I just turned it off with the dial inside. Good move!  The next morning when I opened the fridge, I thought it felt warm in there.  Well it was warmer than the house.  18 C!  I went whaaaaat??  I took something out that was under the fridge light, and it was really warm, so I did make the connection that it was warmer because it was by the light, so the light must have been on all that time I guess?  I closed the fridge door and pulled a bit of the door seal back and could see the light still on. So why is the light staying on?  When I checked where the light button was, I saw that it had been knocked out of position and wasn't getting pushed in when the door closed.  Eureka!  The fridge was running all the time to counteract the heat thrown out by the light.  Since I had unplugged the fridge the first night, the light wasn't on, but turning the fridge off with the dial instead, didn't turn the light off the second night.  After all that was sorted out, the fridge worked just fine, hooray!  Needless to say, there were a couple of meals of leftovers that we did not eat, but the dogs got them and they did just fine.

I'm sure you are all bored to tears if you managed to stick with me this far.  The third bigger project is now going to be a post of it's own.

Here's a Junco soaking up some rays and dreaming of Spring.

I'm just hoping that the rain I can hear coming down now will get rid of the rest of the 5" of snow that we were surprised with on Valentines Day.  
Like the Junco, we too are dreaming of Spring.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Chicken Day

Right now we are in a little stretch of dry and mostly sunny weather.  After all the rain, it is wonderful.  The rain makes for mud, and despite people saying that chickens don't like to get their feet wet, the chickens don't really care. They will scratch around in some small patches of mud, and then don't wipe their feet at the door, and the coop gets to be a disaster far too quickly.  
Larry headed out with the car to get 10 bags of feed.  We buy 10 bags every time, sometimes more, because we get a slight discount when we buy at least 10.

Then in the afternoon I browsed Craigslist to find some hay and did find some cheaper stuff advertised as 'bedding hay' and Larry headed off to get 10 bales of that.  

We use it for bedding in the coops and nest boxes. The hay was just down the road from where we used to live when we first got married, so Larry got to talking with the hay guy, and then said he had a hard time getting away.

I was prepping some oranges for marmalade and was heading outside just as Larry got back.  I started cleaning out the coops, it went fairly well and I only had one wheelbarrow to dump from each of them. One of those wheelbarrows was as full as it possibly could be (Larry calls me 'one trip Karen').

Meanwhile Larry got the hay unloaded, two of the bales were a bit loose and decided to bust out of their strings in the unloading process.  The hay was nice and fine and was easy to spread in the coops.  Such a nice feeling to have the coops all clean and freshly bedded again.  The dry weather helps to keep them clean, and the days getting longer helps too.  The shorter the nights, they less time they spend roosting.

Sunset, the sun flashing out at the end of the day and catching the trees

And the next day was lovely.  We all thought so!

I like this photo

It kind of makes me think of this wonderful piece of artwork by Miriam Mas.
My sister is lucky enough to own the original.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Our Trip

Kind of funny, we would mention to people that we were going away.  They'd usually ask if we were going somewhere warm.  And we'd say no, probably going somewhere colder, but one heck of a lot drier.  It's rained every day for the last three weeks here.  We went to the Oliver cottage for 9 nights.  It rained a bit there, and three mornings there was a bit of fresh snow on the ground, but that moisture amounted to nothing close to the 5" of rain that Abbotsford got while we were away. We were glad to  miss it.  I was getting messages from the house sitter 'there's sooo much rain', 'I'm sick of the rain'....
We do a lot of walking in Oliver, to keep the dogs happy mostly, but it's good for us too, and we do enjoy it.  Most mornings we'd pick a section of dyke to walk along, that we'd have to drive to.  In the afternoons or evening we'd walk out from the house.  If it was dark we'd do our usual route up the hill and around the high school.  The deer venture into town in the winter evenings, we've got some piles of deer poop in the back yard or just behind the back fence.  We've never seen them but this particular night there were two on the bank just down the road from us.

One day late afternoon we climbed to the water tower which is just up a bit of a road and the crossed over to a little valley

And then up over the top and back down again.  Kind of neat with the moon rising. It wasn't quite as dark out as it looks

One morning we thought that someone had been chain sawing trees that had fallen over the trail.

The only saw that spits out chunks that size has beaver teeth!

And then a bit further along we came across this tree.  Lucky for the beaver it had fallen right to the river, and they had been peeling bark off the end in the water. It's really incredible what they can do with those teeth.  The picture doesn't show how massive that tree was.
Does the beaver shout 'timber!' as the tree goes down? Do any beavers ever get crushed by falling trees? Do the beavers know which way the tree is going to go?  They aren't the fastest of creatures on land after all.....

Further down the trail we checked on the beaver tree from the last time we were there.  It's still there, but it looked like there was a bit of fresh chewing.

We had one sunny day while we were there.  This is the only picture I took that day!
I'm so glad the house faces south.  On a sunny winter's day the sun streams in the living room, and usually warms it up enough the the furnace is redundant for a few hours. Luna often sleeps with her tongue stuck out a bit.  Her front teeth are worn down to nubs, so not much to keep the tongue in place.  I think it is from pushing the basket ball around, can't think of any other reason.

Feb 1 was Larry's 70th birthday.  The dogs got a good walk in the morning. So did Larry!

A dull day, but still scenic

I follow the Oliver Chronicle (which is the local newspaper) on Facebook.  They had a giveaway of two free tickets to a big curling tournament in Penticton, half an hour away.  I happened to win them (I do wonder if the mention of it being Larry's 70th birthday had any bearing on that)πŸ˜†, but I think only eight people actually made the required comment to enter.  I guess the odds of winning were decent!
I knew Larry had curled a bit when he was young and agile, but I didn't know he had curled for about eight years, and that wasn't counting the years before that that he would go and watch his dad curl.  I can't believe we actually sat there for 3 hours.  That was the first time seeing curling live for me.  It was mostly pretty interesting, and also interesting listening to comments from people around us.  There was an older lady sat behind us who was a curling whiz, so it was fascinating to listen to her telling the younger guy who had brought her, about the different competitors and the rules and stuff.

Afterwards we went for a meal out.  Which is actually the first time we've gone for a proper meal out in the 5+ years we've been going to Oliver.  
Are we weird? Cheap?
Probably cheap.

And speaking of cheap, how about this chair and footstool that we picked up at the Kiwanis market Saturday morning after we arrived.  $5 for the two of them.  
Our living room, which is quite small,  well the whole house is small, 520 sq ft with about an 80 sq.ft utility room including stairs to the partial, unfinished basement added on the back.
The living room used to have two chairs and two love seats.  Then we did some rearranging and took out one love seat and brought up a chair which was the twin to 'Jake's chair' from home.  It was okay, but it was a bit big in the space and was the wrong colour.  So the $5 'new' chair has moved in and Jake's chair is in the basement, and he gets to curl up in one of the other ones.  He was a bit confused at first, but got it figured out eventually.

The footstool is a bit big in the space, but Larry likes that the chair rocks and spins and he can easily turn to watch the tv which is out of sight to the left of the picture.  Except we didn't watch much tv this time because we are just using an aerial since we don't want to pay a monthly fee for something we usually aren't there to watch.  Sometimes the one channel we get with the aerial comes in decently, but this time it was not.  The picture was watchable, but the sound was all static, and the closed captioning becomes annoying after a while.

The neighbour over the back lane kindly gave us her wifi password, so we are able to use that.  It cooperated pretty well this time, but sometimes that can be a bit sketchy too.

Of course I had a slew of projects lined up to do while we were there.  They all got done, and I'm pretty happy how it all turned out.  More about that later.  
Just know that we drove there with a fridge, a dryer, and a bathroom cabinet in the back of the truck.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Just Ducky

Well don't you just love the latest addition!  These two ducks just make me smile.  $1.50 each at the the thrift store last week.  When Meredith first saw them she said she thought they were wearing big diapers.  So I had a few options for this post title, the others being 'Ducks in Diapers' and 'Getting all our Ducks in a Row'.  I was going to take the ducks out and set them down amongst the hens, and see what happened, but I didn't leave myself enough time. 

The morning we were getting ready to head out of town, I grabbed them and went out the front door and stuck them on the grass.  They said they were disgusted at the mess on the front lawn.  Well at least we got the fir branches sawn up and picked up what was big enough for firewood...but the rest of the mess is still there.

The clean up after the ice storm continues.  This is the northeast corner of our property, in the north chicken/sheep field.  You can just see a bit of the road on the left.  That big shrub thing, leaning both east and west, made a big mess of the fence line.  It's almost impossible to see that under the right leaning part, there is a big thick trunk and a mass of branches crushing the fence and sticking into the neighbours.  I had seen a couple of coyotes hanging around over there, and worried that they were going to use the downed tree as an access point to our chickens.  We checked it all out, both sides, and Larry pointed out that once we started cutting, we were going to make access even easier, so we had to keep going until the job was finished.  It was a gigantic mess of blackberries and many willow branches, and a big trunk and then the fence to fix after we got everything out of the way.  

Larry suggested we fence the corner off, which I  poo poo-ed at the start, because although it sounded  the quickest solution, jobs like that always take much longer than they should.  After we had checked out the mess from both sides, I changed my mind, and occasionally things do go well, and the fence actually did.  So we have a corner fenced off, that is the new piece we put up in the photo, and we can work on that willow at our leisure.  It will be a long while yet though.

We have got the driveway mostly cleaned up.  We told the neighbour he could just have all the great big rounds from the bottom part of the maple; we have enough other stuff to deal with.  
Here we are in the south chicken field working on the top half of the maple. 
The hens like to gather round and 'help out'. Ha, I wish!

Our wood pile looks a bit funny.  There are actually five rows here.  The back two are dry stuff that we can burn now. We had burned the front two rows already this winter, and so had started stacking fresh stuff in the empty space. Then we ended up with space in the middle so were trying to fill that up with the new wood too.  It was a bit awkward, and then we had so many small pieces (like some of those fir branches) that didn't need to be split.  So those small rounds are just a pile waiting to fall over, they don't lock in and hold each other together, so we've had a few stacking failures.  Right now we got the middle rows finished and are working on finishing off that front row.

Here's another of my 'thrifty' purchases.  Not the best picture, but a 2' x4' wall hanging, $2 (how could I pass that up!).  I think I might use it at the market to decorate our booth.

Early afternoon last Thursday we headed off with some trepidation to the Okanagan, a bit worried about the weather and road conditions we might run into.  It was raining when we left home, with a few wet flakes mixed in.  
The worrying was all for naught, the sky cleared, the roads were clear and the fresh snow made for a beautiful drive.

We made a rest stop at Manning Park Lodge

Ravens on the snow bank

Just east of Hedley.  Much less snow here, it's an area with quite a dry climate.
The snow in the cattle trails on the hillside made for an interesting pattern.

Keremeos area


Dusk creeping in.  Getting close to Osoyoos.

By the sounds of it, there has been a ton of rain at home. 
Not sorry to have missed it.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Mother Nature Wows Us!

You've seen this picture already, but this was taken between 4 and 5 pm on Friday
Fascinating with the icicles, but rather boring colour wise.

This was today at the same time. I can never get the camera or the phone to capture these just right. The sky was stunning.  These shots are all taking generally looking to the southwest, but the sky, all 360 degrees around us was stunning, with mixtures of pinks and oranges and strange bluish clouds.
Oops, I've used that word three times, but it really was......stunning!
I'll admit I was even getting a bit teary eyed over the sheer amazingness (stunningness?)of it.

That's our slimmer, now half size maple on the right. 
These first shots are taken with the camera from the living room window. 
You can see the branches missing from the cedar trees where the other half of the maple crashed into them.

We were heading out with the dogs at the time, and it wasn't as dark as these photos make it look.
I took a few more pictures with the phone, which made it look a bit pinker than it really was, it was more orangey, but you get the idea.

It was a good day today weather wise.  We got some work done on the firewood.  
I made a great score on Abbotsford Bidding Wars! 
This evening our neighbour called and told us he had purchased a log splitter recently and he was quite willing to bring it over in exchange for a bit of firewood. 
When we get to the massive logs that are beyond splitting with a swing of the maul, we'll get together with him and his splitter and get 'er doneπŸ‘

Recently I made a comment on another blog, and then another blogger (Granny Marigold) asked me if I would tell the story that I referred to there. So here goes.  I just hope Larry doesn't read this post, and if any of you see him, do me a favour and don't mention it.
When we build something here, we first shop at home and use anything that could possibly used for the project.  We accumulate a lot of 'stuff'.   When we were building the south chicken coop, for the door we used one that we already had. I'm not exactly sure where it came from but it had a window in it (perfect) and it had a door knob.  It just so happened that the door knob was one of those privacy ones, like you'd have on a bathroom door.  The kind that you push and turn the door knob in to lock it.  The locking part was on the outside of the coop.  You had to be conscious of that when you were turning the door knob.  This particular evening Larry had gone to collect the eggs and close the coop for the night.  I guess he closed the door behind him, and he locked himself in. This is many years ago now and I can't remember all the details.  Eventually I noticed him missing, and I went looking. I finally found him extremely mad at himself, at the door knob, at the world, waiting in the chicken coop.  I couldn't understand why he hadn't been making a lot of noise or something.  He was just fuming and waiting.  I think I said that I would have kicked the wire out on the window in the wall.  
Needless to say probably the next day that door knob was taken off and reversed, so that the locking part was on the inside. 
You didn't hear this story from me πŸ˜‰

Saturday, January 13, 2018

More ICE!

Well this will be a winter to remember.  We have had nonstop rain for two days now.  Yesterday we got a snowfall warning that seemed to come out of nowhere.  It turned out that it was only those some miles to the east of us that got the snow, but we did get a bit of freezing rain.  Thank goodness it was just a bit, because a fraction of a degree colder would have made for another terrible mess.

It was very pretty this morning though.  It seems that there was a bit of warmth in the ground so there was no freezing rain at ground level, but everything from a couple of feet off the ground had a pretty layer of ice on it. The contrast of the frosted trees and the green grass was beautiful.

Looking south over our hayfield to the neighbour's property

Looking east over our back hayfield. The Alders back there are pretty battered looking from the previous ice storm

Same place looking south

Iced over Wild Chervil, an invasive weed
Looking east over the close hayfield

Icy Cotoneaster. So pretty with the red berries.

Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki'

In the afternoon we went out.  Most our ice at home had melted.  Going uphill we ran into more ice which slowly decreased as we went back downhill to the flat land of Matsqui Prairie.  We went into town to pick something up, and went quite a ways uphill, but no ice in that area.  Back down to the flats, but more to the east, and all ice free.  We drove past the place we used to live 30+ years ago, and what a dump it looks now.  Across the eastern half of the prairie towards the Fraser River, and all of a sudden the ice reappeared, and got worse and worse.  We took the dogs for a walk along the dyke there in the pouring rain, it was miserable with an east wind blowing at us. Fascinating to see all the ice again though, but not quite so fascinating to the dogs when a few branches along the edge of the fields decided to crash down.  Everything except the road and the gravel dyke was layered in ice.

Luna figured she had earned a few treats for plonking her butt on that cold and icy bench

Looks like tomorrow afternoon and Sunday may be decent for working on our firewood stash.