Saturday, March 17, 2018

Greenhouse Makeover

Well since I've been home I've been trying to keep the momentum rolling on the project thing.  You know, if I can do projects at my sister's, I'd better get some projects done at home.  It's a bit depressing at home though, because the project list is just endless.   

My green house, which is 12' long and about 8' wide, has seen better days.  I think it's about 25 years old.  When we built it we bought the actual greenhouse corrugated fibreglass to cover it.  Since the long walls faced north and south, we saved a bit of money by making the north wall out of wood and painting it white.  Eventually the fibreglass got so weather beaten, especially the south facing roof, that even when it was pressure washed it was not letting in enough light.  The tomato plants were a bit tall and spindly.  I'd have to pressure wash the whole roof and the south wall every year, and that was a job and a half.  Last year I didn't even use the greenhouse.

Since my tomato growing and selling was so successful last year with my gazebo frame greenhouse, I figured it was rather silly not to take advantage of a greenhouse I already had, albeit a greenhouse that needed updating.  

Last Saturday we went to three garage sales.  The last one was massive, an estate sale and a house whose basement was jam packed with junk.  Too overwhelming for me poking around in all that unpriced stuff, but I did find a roll of really heavy plastic that I was able to get for $5.

The next day we went out and removed all the south roof and wall.

I didn't think to take a photo before we started, but that is the wall piece in front and the roof at the back. You can get a sense of how non translucent it is now.

I'll spare you all the details (oh it's hard not to bore you with those!)  I rolled the piece up on a pole and got it up near the ridge while I stood up through the open roof and fastened it at the top and nailed the ridge cap back down.  Then unfurled the beast and it went not too badly.  Some lath screwed over the plastic at the rafters and over the edges to hold it all in place.  I've made it so that in the summer I can roll up the wall.  The plastic is already fasted around a pole at the bottom, and I just  have to undo the screws in the lath where the wall plastic bends round onto the end walls and roll the pole up.  Fasteners to keep the roll up still need to be done, but I've got that sorted out in my head.  Now I think the plastic is actually a heavy vapour barrier, so not sure it is the right thing for letting the correct rays of sun through, but it's got to be better than before because it is so bright and light in the green house now.  

The north facing roof was REALLY dirty.  There is a maple tree high above, so lots of drips from the leaves.

A lot cleaner looking now!

The previous door more or less self destructed several years ago.  We had this small screen door and decided it was easier to install it instead of making a new door.  The door was a bit narrower, but we just put plastic over the extra space.  One funny thing.  There was a wheelbarrow of compost in the greenhouse.  We didn't think to take it out before we put the new door in.  The wheelbarrow was too wide to fit through the new door! Thankfully once emptied in there and turned on it's side we were able to get it through the door.  Our favourite green plastic wheelbarrows fit through just fine!
The flat fibreglass on the ends isn't too bad once it gets cleaned up.

Now I just need to get busy and get some seeds started!

In other news the four footed furry family is doing well.  Luna and Jake go every 6 - 8 weeks for chiropractic adjustment.  Luna was running funny last Sunday and had a real hitch in her trot.  Her pelvis was badly twisted but that got sorted out, with Luna feeling some discomfort during the process, but she was much happier after it was done.  I could tell she felt better as she was carrying her tail at a much more jaunty angle.  We stopped at the dyke on the way home and had a nice walk.  We've been walking here for many years, and some where I have a photo of this same old piece of tree, taken 20 years ago.

The swimming hole changed quite a bit over the winter, now it has a nice sandy beach!

Old dogs like to snooze in the Spring sunshine.  Sweet Jake will be 14 this summer.  

And Spring is really here! 
It will be official shortly, but we have had some lovely warm sunny days.  I've worn capris on two of those days.  Sun hats and sunscreen are becoming required accessories again!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ontario Trip

When we were in Ontario last Thanksgiving for my nephew's wedding, my sister mentioned that she was thinking that she'd like to put laminate in all the upstairs bedrooms.  Her house was built in 1900.   It's a house full of character, and has been added on to, maybe more than once.  Upstairs were some ancient blue tiles, not in bad condition for the most part, but just 'old' and not a particularly attractive old.  I mentioned that I could do that, after all we have put flooring in every room in this house.  The first generation of engineered floating floors, laminate of various types, glue, click, ceramic tile and vinyl wood look tiles.  So we decided that I would come back in the early spring to do the floors.

The day after I arrived we went looking at flooring.  She had nothing particular in mind, but I had said that I had to like what I was putting down.  When she pointed at the generic golden oak, I said no ;-)  The one we picked was in the clearance section, and both being thrifters at heart, well who are we to say no to a good deal.  Now I must say when we looked at this flooring, the pieces out of the box that we saw where all darker boards, and we didn't realize that there were so many light pieces.  We were okay with it though.  

The flooring was supposed to sit for a couple of days to adjust to the climate in the place it was going to be put down. The most time consuming part was figuring out how/where I was going to start in each room.  I can be a bit of a perfectionist sometimes, anyway, I figured out how I wanted it to be at the doorway and got it lined up straight. Thankfully the rooms were generally square and straight.  This room was the worst though, as it had an electrical receptacle in the floor, and like all the other rooms, had a radiator.  Each radiator had two pipes coming up through the floor, and then the radiator had four oval legs that angled to the floor. Every one of those had to have boards cut around them with room for expansion of the flooring. It was like creating a jigsaw puzzle, and sometimes boards had to be cut multiple times to get the cutout to fit just right. One we got past the radiator it was clear sailing for the most part.  Sometimes I cut the wrong end off the board, but by the end of the job I managed to use all those boards somewhere.  They say to allow for 10-15% wastage, but I figured we were about 1%.

Old, possibly asbestos containing blue tile (quick, lets get that stuff covered up!), with foam over it and then the laminate, with a spacer board to maintain that space around the edge.

One room down.  
There was quarter round moulding along the baseboard.  That was taken off to put the floor down, and then will be added back to cover the expansion gap. I was literally dreaming about my job, as this was where I slept ;-)

Second bedroom.
We did not take any of the furniture out.  There was also a dresser with a huge mirror and a big chair.  Everything was pushed to one side of the room and once we got the floor down up to the furniture, we moved it over to the completed side, and continued on.

Third bedroom. 
That perfectionist in me wanted to the boards to continue from the bedroom to the hallway, all lined up.  I worked hard to make them that way, and was very disappointed when I got most of the hallway/landing done, to see that the boards had shifted slightly.  I do have to redo the last board at the top of the stairs, so when I go back in the Fall I'm going to see if I can make a bit of an adjustment and try to line them up slightly better.  I wanted to use wood transition pieces in the doorway, but we couldn't find what I was picturing in the time that was left, so ended up using one of the original brass ones, and purchased two new brass ones for the other two door ways.

It was just dumb luck that the flooring coordinated so well with the vinyl on the bathroom floor.  All the flooring ran from east/west.  Is that good Feng shui?lol

And looking at those photos I can see where I got similar boards too close to each other.  Funny how I didn't notice it at the time, because I was conscious of that, or tried to be.

Maple sugar season had started in Ontario.  Did you know that there are many other trees that you can tap besides the sugar maple?  I joined a Facebook group that taps here on the west coast, where our season is over, but I've come to the realization that it is not actually something I will ever do, even though we have quite a few tappable trees on our property.

Cathy and her lovely dogs, May and Harlow.  May is a retired guide dog that Cathy adopted, and Harlow is a brood bitch, who has so far produced 20 cute potential guide or assistance dogs.  

Harlow likes to walk the curb.  I think she is a frustrated agility dog ;-)

This is Leroy, a cat who really thinks he is a dog. He lays with the two dogs, cleans their ears, is a real character...until he bites you.  Everyone eventually experiences the bite, because don't we all think that we are the one that the cat 'really' likes?

I had arrived in Ontario Thursday afternoon.  We couldn't start the flooring until Sunday due to acclimation process.  Family came over after lunch so work stopped.  Monday we worked hard and got the first AND second bedroom finished.  My legs were really tired from all the up and down from the floor.  Cathy was the best assistant, trying, she said, to be like a dental assistant and have the next tool I needed ready and waiting.  I had a bad habit of loosing the pencil!  We took Tuesday off, I needed it, and went into Ottawa in the afternoon for some thrifting.  Successful thrifting it was, although I was limited by what I could wear and add to my carryon.

Wednesday was crunch day, and we got the third bedroom and most of the landing done.  Figuring out how to deal with where the floor met the top stair was a tough one.  The landing had even more layers of flooring than the bedrooms, and it seemed to slope up at the stair.  I started trying to remove the slope but didn't like the look of what I was getting into. Asbestos?? I made my own solution which was a bit rough looking, hence no picture, but when I go back I have a plan to fix it.  Thursday morning was spent with some finishing bits, like the transition pieces, and a few other little jobs on my list.  In fact I was finishing off some moulding around a window ten minutes before we had to head to the airport! Just time for a quick shower and off we went.

I was going through security at the airport and got pulled aside for a body scan.  So you stand there with arms and legs spread while the wand is waved all over you .  It was beeping constantly as I so happened to have a shirt on with metal snaps down the front and on the cuffs, had a belt buckle, glasses on my head, zippers on my boots, etc.  Belt was undone, boots were fully checked out. Hands were swabbed and then I guess I 'passed' as I was sent to pick up my coat and luggage that had been through the scanner.  There I was told they were going to search my coat pockets.  Did I have any sharp items in my pockets?  Of course the mind is whirling, but I said I didn't think so.  I was frantically thinking what might be in treats most likely, plastic poop bags maybe, garbage...hopefully nothing too embarrassing.  So she pulls out a jigsaw blade.  Oops! I had had it in my pocket from the time we went to the hardware store to get some new blades for the jigsaw.  She measured it and said it was too long (haha, like I wanted to take it with me!) and I said please can you just chuck it!   Anyway, I was glad when they finally let me on the plane ;-)

On the way home we were flying into the sunset for a long time.  Interesting to the see the sunset from above.  The bottom of the clouds were pink!

It was a fun trip and I've already run projects by my sister for my Fall visit.  We had a great time together and lots of laughs!