Sunday, April 29, 2012

Trees down, spirits high!

Well neither Nick or I are real fans of cutting down a lot of trees but we had MANY in our backyard, which unfortunately in the height of summer would have created a very shady and unusable yard. So we had Alex Scott, Certified Arborist and Faller from Horizon Urban Forestry come to fall our gigantic maple trees.

There are 3 large Douglas Fir trees each 50 + ft high straddling the edges of our backyard. Nick 'limbed' them the very first week we were here as their limbs were so long as to touch the ground and were near 20 ft in diameter making the yard appear small and dark. Even just taking out the large boughs which swept the ground made an enormous difference in the amount of light!

We had Alex our Arborist come through to give us a quote about falling the three large maples. And interestingly enough he said that the maples were much more hazardous than the large fir trees. The maples were each 40 + feet high but had been 'topped' about 5 years ago. Unfortunately they were 'topped' haphazardly (not by Alex!) thus creating unstable trees. As it turns out two of the three maples were starting to rot and were extremely dangerous. So we were happy to have them taken down.

We now have three GINORMOUS stumps which will need to be dug up and grinded out but that will be an on going project!!! We also cannot seem to sell the maple which is laying where it fell in large rounds. Nick has started moving and stacking so we can get on with the rest of our plans!

The yard itself is actually quite square in shape. Initially I had wanted the very back to be used as the garden but alas the house is full West facing so there would be too many shadows to place it there. We have decided to put in a raised bed along the south fence. This will ensure full sun for the veggies but creates a more rectangle shape for the rest of the usable yard. ... I'm sure I'll get over this but I truly had had different visions in my head!

We're starting with a raised bed 12 x 12, Nick bought 1in x 12 ft planks of fir and made a square (ain't he clever?)  tomorrow we should be able to start filling it with dirt.

We've found TONS of veggie plants grown by locals at the Farmer's Market, our only problem now is to narrow down our choices!!

Nick's been busy making shelves for his 'Wine Cellar' underneath the stairs. We still need to build a bench for the garage and get another wooden rod for our winter coats to be stored.

We've been given a bedroom suite from Nick's Dad (thank you!) which I am planning to paint (the dresser and a night stand) hot pink for Ruby's room. Also have picked up some laminate flooring for the dining room. Currently it has carpet but we're due to receive a wonderful dining room suite which was Nick's maternal grandmother's (thank you!) But before the suite comes I really want to put down the laminate so as it's easier for me to keep this place clean!

NO rest for the wicked! Much, much to do! But we're having fun and enjoying ourselves emensely!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Eye goggles, a laundry dresser and a Froggy Orchestra

What a whirlwind two weeks in our new place!!! Been quite an adventure!

Hoping to start really finding our new routine and getting into the groove of our new life style!

We've enjoyed emmensely attending the local Farmer's Market which has just moved to the summer time out door location. It's been a great treat for our daughter Ruby and I because we suffer from Celiac Disease, (an allergy to wheat/gluten) which severely limits our ability to eat outside of our own kitchen. But at this Farmer's Market there are several vendors whom make DELICIOUS gluten free (and dairy free) sweet treats.

Easter weekend as Nick mentioned before, we had my own family (parents, siblings and nieces/nephews) up for a visit. This past weekend we've enjoyed a visit from my best friend Ruth, her hubby Brian, their three small children and their new puppy Hugo. It was a lot of fun and we can't wait to do it again!

Thursday we found Gypsy our three year old dog, on the 'other' side of the fence for the umpteenth time. So Nick promptly ran out to the hardware store to purchase materials to make the fence 'Gypsy proof.' What an ordeal the shopping trip was!! He was gone for near THREE hours for an arm load of material, but each store had only ONE of the items he needed, he'd run back and forth across town... we probably wasted more gas than the cost of materials!

But he fixed the fence with 6 inch 'pencil' posts and some thicker gauged fencing wire, which he doubled height wise so Gypsy cannot just jump the fence - the deer still can but that's another post :D

I was outside with the kids on the lawn enjoying their laughter and sunshine while Nick stapled the wire to the posts. Out of the corner of my eye I watched as the staple didn't take and the sharp wire snapped back towards Nick's face. He fell backwards out of a squatting position with a startled look on his face, and the blood began to flow beneath his right eye. Both of us were slightly panicked! But he was okay, a good gash to the side of his nose underneath his eye. I had to chastise him for not wearing safety goggles, which he didnt' think were necessary for such a mundane task. I think he's learned his lesson because he wore them while making my 'laundry dresser,' with Brian later in the weekend. (I'll post pics perhaps tomorrow if  I can remember!)

I have to say that I've been truly surprised at the significant decrease in garbage since starting and using the compost. We've also really stepped up our recycling efforts. I know the environment will thank me but my dining room fills up a little too quickly for my liking. Going to have to get into the habit of removing the recycle bin to the garage nightly.

Which segways me into my wonderful, harmonious,  evening 'Froggy Orchestra...'

When I was growing up (and actually still to this day because my folks still live in the house...) from now until late September when I'd lie down to bed it was impossible not to be serenaded to sleep by the thousands and I MEAN thousands of little frogs that lived in the 20 acre park below the house. It is a magical sound, and on hot nights with the windows open sometimes the music was more deafening than one would think. But it truly was a great memory...

I have happily discovered that while my mother lays down every night to a Froggy Rock Concert of thousands I get to lay down to a Froggy Orchestra of probably a dozen or so frogs!! My magic is BACK! The sound is unmistakable, and the serenade hipnotic. Just one more reason I am SO very happy to be in the Valley and in this house!

Until next time!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Weekend 2012

What a productive weekend its been!

I filled my first compost bucket.

I built a set of railings for the front steps

I added extra slats to the back deck so that the kids dont fall through.

And built a new railing on the one side of the stairs.....

All the wood working needed to be done so that I could get house insurance. They only gave me a 30 day notice to get the things fixed, so it will be nice to have this all off my list. And of course it would have taked MUCH longer if my brother in law and father in law where not there to help me.

We also changed all the outside door locks, as we did not get any keys from the previous owners. Now all the locks work with the same key!

And of course Ruby had a great time playing in the back yard with her cousins!

Trimmed some trees to brighten up the yard.

and uncle Andy and his nephews cut the branches and piled 'em up for me.

Oh and I forgot to mention that I won a leg of lamb at the farmers market! All in all it was an excellent weekend!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sorry for the delay...

but boy have we been busy! The movers came and packed us up on Sunday and Monday the 18th and 19th of March. Then loaded the moving truck on the Tuesday. We then spent the next 2 weeks in a hotel in Comox. And after those very long 2 weeks in a hotel we sure were ready to move into our new house. We took posession on Saturday the 31st, and promptly arrived to do laundry! Since the movers do not work weekends, we had to wait until Monday for the movers to show up and unpack us.

Its been a whirlwind since then, unpacking and organizing all sorts of stuff. There have been a few milestones..... I filled my first bucket of composting and brought it out to the bin.  I've been religous about recycling; every thing has been rinsed and put in the bin.

Yesterday I trimmed the the trees to make more light in the backyard, doing so has allowed us to see Ruby everywhere in the yard.

Today I fixed the railings on the deck so that a 2yr old can no longer fit between the slats. I then went back to Home depot and begged some used (broken) pallets and made myself a compost bin this afternoon. Hopefully I will be able to rent a chipper tomorrow and take care of all the branches I took down yesterday.

Today most of the Campbell Clan (my in laws) arrived, and we are in for a busy weekend! An added bonus is that Ruby should sure be tuckered out!!!

Sorry for the delay in posting, I'll try and be more dilligent, but I have been a zombie this last week!