Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Months 13-17

I bet you’d forgotten about me hadn’t you?
It certainly has been a while since I updated the blog so it will be a concise version…

Upstairs washroom (formerly known as the bedroom closet)- We have finished installing the door trim and the back splash is up and grouted. The only thing left to do is to put in some chair rail (dado rail for those English folk J )

Main bathroom upstairs- The bath, toilet and sink are in! We had a slight issue in that the bath leaked when it was drained…I was not a happy bunny! It seems that when the plumber fixed the slope on the drain pipe a long time ago, he nicked the pipe with his saw L  It took many weeks ( 6 to be exact ) for him to finally come back and resolve the issue. In the meantime we had called another plumber to come out but he couldn’t check it since we had no water, I’ll get to that later… The shower is tiled and grouted so we’re ready for glass, I have someone coming in a couple of days to measure up. We also have a fabulous heated towel rail and in floor heating which is hooked up and working nicely. The electrical inspector has been and done the final inspection so that is one less thing to worry about. We installed new lights and a medicine cabinet, I just need to install door trim on one door and paint it then we’ll be all done in there! I can’t wait to finally be able to take a shower in that bathroom.

Our bedroom- We carried on scraping off as much texture from the walls as possible then I gave them a skim coat of plaster and painted them. We had to brick up the hole from the woodstove and it is patched so well you can’t really tell where it was J The hardwood floor  is installed, the new custom baseboards (sorry, skirting boards) look terrific and match the existing  ones very well. We have moved our bed in there (yay!) but are yet to get wardrobes so are living out of a washing basket for clothes right now, along with the closet in the room downstairs that we were using as a bedroom. The only things left to do are putting  in some quarter round trim, which needs painting first, and adding a door.
So happy to be in our bedroom!
Callum’s room has been emptied of furniture and is being used as a workshop. Now that the tiling is all done I have been able to tidy a lot of things away, next job there will be to install the hardwood floor and he can get his room back.

Kitchen- This is the most recent project. The ceiling has been drywalled, a joint effort with the boys (thank you reading week for making Callum available!) then it was mudding, taping and sanding until I couldn’t sand anymore. Those high ceilings make it that much harder to work. Priming, painting and new lights and it looks like a totally different space! We also built a bulkhead around the plumbing to the upstairs bathroom, patched and painted the walls, built an island and refinished the existing cupboards. The cupboards doors were falling apart so they needed to be secured with mending plates before scrubbing and painting. They have obviously been there a long time and when I was prepping them, I removed many layers of dirt and grime, revealing a completely different shade of brown. Yuck!  Now they have gone from a cherry stained pine to a heritage green, with new handles. Now with extra storage, we’ll be able to unpack some of the boxes of kitchen items that haven’t seen the light of day for over a year.
The colour on the left is after cleaning...
Goodbye chicken border!

Winter has been harsh this year, the bitter cold has caused a few problems inside and out. Just before Christmas we had a power cut as the result of a big ice storm. The trees were hanging low (with the top of one birch touching the ground and another resting on the main power line coming into the house) causing a couple of trees to snap in two under the weight of the ice. With no power comes no heat and no running water (well living of course) which, with an electric stove (cooker) and without a fireplace we had no means of heating the house at all. Eating out, candle lit games and early bedtimes ensued. It got down to 7C in the warmest part of the house and we feared for the plumbing system but miraculously after 50 hours we got power back on. We have since bought a gas stove in case we have the same thing happens again. The only casualty was the plumbing in the laundry room, burst pipes and lots of mess which happened as it warmed up and the pressure forced the ice out of the pipes! The plumber was working around the clock with other clients in the same boat but eventually fixed us up. The good thing was it forced us to clean up the laundry room while we were soaking up the flood.

Outside, the snow melting and refreezing caused problems with JM’s car. We had been away and when he opened his door the ice was so solid it bent his door and fender( wing) so that was an expense we could have done without. The snow blower got a rock stuck in the auger, causing the belt to snap but thanks to YouTube and some tools, JM got that working again...he’s turning into an industrious country boy J 
We have had snow on the ground for over 4 months with no mid-winter melt so I’m more than ready for spring. I almost forgot, the severe cold also cracked a pipe in the septic system so that had to be fixed too.

We lost another chicken (courtesy of Kaiya) and she injured the new cockerel so we kept him in the house to heal for a week. He still limps but is doing much better.They have had a heat lamp running 24/7 and their water still freezes on the very cold days!

I need to finish up all these little jobs in the house then we can spring clean, finally unpack then move onto outdoor projects - I have hundreds of them! First up will be to fence off an area for the dog so she can run freely and not get our chickens (or the goat we’re getting in May).

I’m praying for warm weather to come soon, before I lose my mind! 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Weeks 48-52

We have windows! Skillfully installed and beautiful J The company did a great job, I’m so glad we went with them.

The bathroom floor is finally done! All tiles installed, grouted and sealed. I started installing the wall tiles but partway through decided that maybe painting before they are done will make my life a little easier down the road. What did that mean? Taping, mudding, sanding, mudding, sanding…it certainly is a messy and time consuming job! Once all that was done, the ceiling and walls got primed and painted, 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint later and they looks fresh as a daisy!  I’ve also finished the wall tiles so we’re ready to install the bath, toilet and sink! I still need to tile the shower and get it measured up for glass but since we have a shower downstairs it’s not urgent.
The border which made my life so difficult, it turned out well though...

All ready for the bath now!

We also framed up the doorways and hung two doors, sounds simple enough except we had to change the swing on one, install new hinges and also do a little jiggery pokery to get them to open and close smoothly. Hey presto, we have doors! I’m so glad we were able to reuse the original doors; it looks like they’ve always been there.
I have also ordered some custom made baseboards to match the ones we have, you just can’t buy 9”baseboards at the Home Depot! An added expense but one I feel is worth it.

More taping, mudding and sanding in the hallway and bedroom to be.  JM has been scraping and sanding the original walls- whoever had the bright idea of creating texture using tissue paper then painting over it needs to be shot! We can’t strip it so we are making it as smooth as we can without replastering. It won’t be perfect but it will be better and I can live with that. Once the bathroom is finished I can get on to this area and lay some flooring…

Outside the trees have all changed colour and have lost most of their leaves.  The pool has been put to bed for the winter, the trampoline is away and leaves were raked and collected for making a guy for Guy Fawkes Night. We had a late Halloween/early Guy Fawkes Night! Bonfire, baked potatoes, sparklers and fireworks, just like in England J
The kids with some 'guy'

Burn baby burn! A 'guy' in the fire...

Sadly, we had to bid farewell to Edmund the Rooster L He had a run in with the dog and he lost. On the plus side, we have acquired another pair of chickens so there is still a chance of chicks in the spring J

So here we are, one year after getting the house and much reflection on where we’ve come in that time. Lots done but still lots more to do, here’s to another year of achievements!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Weeks 37-47

Weeks 37-47
Yup, it's been months!

Callum’s room got a final sanding then I started priming…first the patches of drywall compound, then the ceiling and finally the woodwork. It was only when I was washing the walls down that I realised that all of the trim was a pale yellow! How could I have missed that? I gave the baseboards, window and door frames and the two doors a coat of lovely crisp primer, they will look fantastic when the walls are done. The discovery for this project? There was a square of wall paper on Callum’s wall covering a chimney hole! I need to make sure it gets blocked off properly; I’m hoping to use that chimney in the future. His new flooring has arrived and will get installed when the bathroom is completed.
What could possibly be hiding under the wallpaper?
Oh, a gaping great hole!

We finally settled on what type of tile to put in the bathroom upstairs. Light grey and white marble on the floors, with a Victorian looking border. Plain subway tiles on the walls of the shower and around the bath to keep it clean and bright in there. I’ve almost finished installing the floor ones, the border made it considerably trickier but we’ll get there.

We ordered new windows and they are being installed right now! After hours of meeting with different representatives we chose the one with triple glazing; with the size of the windows and the type of house I think that was the best choice.

James and I recycled the old barn boards from the kitchen ceiling and have built a deluxe chicken coop and run. It took a long time because it was done in multiple short stints but we completed it last week and it is now inhabited. Three hens and a cockerel named Queenie, Bernard, Bob and Edmund (in keeping with the Blackadder theme) and we were blessed with our first egg today Kaiya just discovered them yesterday and went crazy! Those poor creatures are going to get no peace and quiet now...
In progress
The finished product!

Our new babies...
Meet Edmund

Being summer, we tried to spend time outside and specifically in the pool whenever we could. It wasn’t the usual hot summer but we made the most of it and next year I’m hoping it will get a lot more use.
The weeds on the other hand had an exceptional summer! They loved all the rain and us not keeping on top of pulling them all out. The mowing did get done regularly and the garden was beautiful. The nicest surprise has to be the magnificent hibiscus bush out the back! It looked gorgeous for weeks.
View from the laundry room roof.

Lastly R.I.P… The vacuum has given up the ghost, as has our dryer. We’ve replaced the laundry pair but the central vac still needs to be installed so we are constantly having to sweep. The shop vac has certainly come in handy…

Summary, slow progress. It’s a 10 year plan, right?

I saw this squirrel climb the tree with the apple in it's mouth then it had a nibble and left it.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Weeks 28-36

So here we are again. I’ve failed to keep the blog up to date; partly because we haven’t been doing as much, partly because we had visitors so we took a holiday and partly because I just haven’t been on top of it.

Now where were we…

The washroom is now tiled, painted, wallpapered and installed with a mirror and a light. All it needs now is trim and a lock.

 The bathroom has the in-floor heating laid, self levelling concrete on top, more self levelling concrete on top of that because it wasn’t level(grrr!) and all the drywall up. The cement board is in the shower area so the next step is tiles. Ah, the tiles!  After much contemplation, I decided that I’d really like to do something in keeping with the style of the house. I think that small black and white tiles laid in a diamond pattern will look really nice. The only snag is that you cannot get small black and white floor tiles in Canada! I’ve been to multiple suppliers and followed up on their recommendations only to hit a brick wall. It seems my best bet is to order them through an American company and pick them up in Buffalo (incidentally they are shipped from the UK).What a palarver!

Infloor heating=warm tootsies!
Shower stall

Callum's room has had the wall fixed (where we took down a dividing wall) and been patched and sanded and patched and sanded and get the idea!


The pool took much time and effort to get it usable, many lives were lost in the process (chipmunks, squirrels and mice all tried to swim and couldn’t get out)! It is in need of a new liner ($$$) which we’ll have to live without for now. We did get a new filter since the old one leaked and didn’t really work. Now we can go for a dip whenever the weather decides to be nice, which isn’t nearly often enough for this time of year!

 Since the weather had been warmer, than winter anyway, there has been lots of activity outside: we planted our little trees, weeded, pruned many dead branches, took down a few trees and mowed and mowed and mowed! We’ve discovered apple trees and plants we didn’t know we had. Now that the plants have grown and filled out, everything is green J
Also, the septic guys came back to grade the soil...



Look at all this space!
On the wildlife front, other than the casualties from the pool, we’ve also had to bury a few squirrels and birds L
We had a couple of swallows build a nest on the side porch.

We had an up close encounter with a robin's nest, it was at eye level near the barn so we saw them grow from eggs to fledglings.

 A family of baby red squirrels were orphaned and we tried to help them but the dog killed two of them and one fell from a wire so only two survived(we think). Here (-well down there, this blog won't let me move the picture here!)is a squirrel house, designed and built by moi on the spur of the moment to give them somewhere to stay, not sure if they took me up on my offer.(Yes I may be just a little obsessed with these guys)
We also had a baby bat in the kitchen (I think it fell from the attic through the hole where the chimney used to be and the cats brought it down) which squeaked and squeaked.  We put it in the attic in a box and it was gone when we checked so we think the mum must have found it J
JM found some baby mice under the seat of his motorbike (newborn, so pink baked beans with legs!) which he had to fish out. The problem was that while making the nest, the mum chewed through some wires! We think they are all in tact, we’ve taped them up so fingers crossed…
On the whole, country living is all I expected and more. We’ve seen deer close up, as well as raccoons, birds, squirrels etc, oh and a tree frog. This is why I wanted to move here. The property is beautiful and the location is so convenient to everything. It has been a year since we put our Ayr house on the market, how time has flown!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Week 27

Things are still coming along.

A bit more drywall, some cement board on the floor of the washroom and the shower base is installed (a long story that I won’t elaborate on). The electrician has finished the rough in for lights, switches etc. too. The electrical inspector has passed everything so we can move on…and we now have potlights in the soon to be washroomJ
One ready to tile shower base

Huge celebration…the last sections of the chimney from the kitchen stove have been removed from the attic and roof, the hole has been patched on the roof and we now have nothing stopping us finishing the bathroom. Hooray! Massive thank yous to Murray for providing all the gear and expertise.
This chimney is going down!

Helllooo down there...


We’ve also weeded a bit around the patio/pool area. Someone from a pool company came out to take a look at the pool and said it looked O.K. We filled it a bit to check if it leaks and the level dropped a small amount so we repeated the process and it didn’t seem too bad. Now we’ve put lots in and I fear it may have a leak afterall L Time will tell. If it leaks then a new liner will be needed $$$, although a patch job might do to see us through for a bit.

The septic guys (remember them?) came back to tidy up and grade the soil but were hindered by the moisture (the guy was sinking in the mud in one spot so machinery wouldn’t fare too well!) They did a little but can’t finish until the ground dries up some more. They did a good job tidying up around where the trench for the well was dug though. It is all progress…

More flowers are appearing daily, the trees are greening up nicely and we’ll be mowing the lawn before we know it (JM did a trial run with Shabana and cut a little strip).

This one is my fave J