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It seems like just yesterday I was sweltering in 30 degree heat and wishing for a reprieve, but today it feels like fall has set in. The nights are cool, we’re using our duvet again, and while the afternoon sun is still quite hot, the air in the shade is not. The season of sweaters and “hot again, cool again” has returned. Windows which get opened during the day suddenly need to be closed at night, the wood stove has seemed mighty tempting a couple of times, and our thoughts are turning to getting all those last things accomplished before the cold weather (and snow) sets in. Things like eaves troughs and soffits, insulating the trap door, draft proofing the front and back doors. Yesterday, for the first time in a few months, I made a roast chicken, and my mind wandered to making soup. Not yet, but soon. The kids returned to school this week, and that also makes me feel old, and happy, and sad.

I can’t say I don’t welcome the cooler weather, but summer sure flew by fast, and that makes me feel old and sad. The weeds in my garden are doing better than the plants I wanted there, which also makes me sad, but soon I won’t need to feel guilty for not weeding the garden because it will be too cold for anything to survive. So it won’t be my fault that the garden is dead and unproductive.

Things we’ve done this summer:

  • Planted 180 cedars. (Dug 180 holes!)
  • Went camping for a week with Twinkle Toes for the first time as a family. Really, have you ever gone camping with a one-year-old? It is more of a challenge than it sounds, and it sounds daunting. One of the lessons learned that week: When you suspect your child has a full, poopy diaper, do not continue to roll around in the tent playing “tickle”. I’ll spare you the details.
  • Acquired a new motorcycle, sold one, and fixed several bits on several motorcycles.
  • Successfully (just about) finished a room! I put down, stained and varnished the pine flooring. Now I’m thinking of another career. (Not really, but that pneumatic floor nailer was a lot of fun.)
  • Rupert built a two-storey deck with a friend of his. Quite the accomplishment given he is afraid of heights and that even only 5 years ago, he wouldn’t have known how to hammer in a nail. (I exaggerate, but only a little.)
  • Got over the dread of returning to work after maternity leave, had my position abolished, dealt with that stress, and came out the other side thinking that the world is full of possibilities. Today I ran into one of those possibilities. I’m going to start a production blitz in time for the International Plowing Match which will be taking place in my area in a couple of weeks. I also found out that I may be eligible to take some entrepreneurship courses, which would be dandy!

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Casa Cat Creek is at the edge of a village, in the 50 km/hr zone of what is otherwise an 80 km/hr county road. Despite the signs, despite the warning of increased fines, drivers still go through town doing 70-100 km/hr. We worry about the dogs or kids getting hit by a car and we have to deal with people who see our long side property as  a municipal park, treat it as a dumping ground, park on the grass. We rarely using our long side lot because it feels so open. What a shame! It’s a beautiful lot with trees, space for more gardens or a gazebo or badminton net… but we don’t use it.

Rupert has been suggesting since we bought the house that we should put up a cedar hedge the whole way along the property — and I’ve resisted because I don’t like cedar hedges. Most, anyway. It seems so many cedars end up neglected, sparse, ratty looking or cut too short with gaping holes in them. Yuck! But after 3 years of picking up the garbage that gets blown onto our lawn by people who dump coffee cups, chip bags, cigarette packs, and so on on the road, I acquiesced.

Rupert is very much a motivated Start-a-Project kind of man, so within a couple of weeks of deciding what we were going to do, we have this:

and this:

Luckily, the weather was just perfect for the work. The temperature hovered around 19 degrees and it rained on and off all day. Sun and warmer temperatures are predicted for tomorrow and the rest of the week, so I’ll be rigging up a watering system to keep the cedars cozy. Incidentally, I’ll be watering with the outdoor hose — the water from those taps is not softened, which is great considering how poorly cedars deal with salt!

While Rupert dug and planted, Young Jedi and Twinkle Toes did this:

 

Unfortunately, we still have all this to dig and plant!

Ah, but it will be nice to have a wall of green to provide a little privacy and a little more safety. My hope is that the dogs will be less inclined to wander out to the road, since the only exit point will be our driveway. Once the trees fill in, that is. For now one of the dogs is very happily passing between the trees and exploring the lovely bone meal smells.

The next load of trees is slated to arrive in two weeks. We’ll have out work cut out for us, that’s for sure (haha!) since we also have a birthday boy to celebrate, a load of topsoil and 20 cords of wood being delivered. Getting it delivered is the easy part. Stacking it in the wood shed, well, that takes a good week or more of work.

Toodoodoodoo… it’s all right…

🙂

Finally, the deluge has ended, and I had a chance to cut the Cat Creek grass — my, was it ever getting long! I planted a few starts that I hadn’t managed to get in the ground last week, but I will have to remember to water them because the forecast calls for lots of sun and dry weather this week.

I’ve had one casualty so far: the fuzzy ones mom gave me to transplant. The two I planted have both fallen over, wilted and died an ugly death. I don’t know what they were, though. Poppies? 😦 If so, that’s too bad. I like poppies.

Everything else seems to have taken to their new locations quite well, though, even with the dogs doing their best to lie on everything. 😛

Pictures of all the garden glory tomorrow, promise!

… my garden grows quite nicely, thank you!

May 24th weekend being the traditional planting and gardening weekend in these parts, I took full advantage of the nice weather, and, hoping that all threat of frost has passed, I planted some unwanted wanderer perennials from my mom’s garden — peonies, poppies, chicken and hens, violets and ground cover — and also made a trip to the greenhouse for vegetable and herb starts. This year, what with a little baby and all, I didn’t manage to get around to growing anything from seed, but that’s okay. I got kohlrabi, broccoli, celery, eggplant, asparagus (oooh, hope it works!), leeks, tomatoes, 3 varieties of hot peppers for Rupert, horseradish, lavender, oregano, basil, chamomile, dill…. um, what else? I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Oh, yes, some onions which I have yet to put in.

Sigh. It’s so satisfying after all that digging to look at the neatly aligned, well-behaved little bursts of potential. Let’s hope I don’t go and neglect them like las year (when I could no longer bend over to weed due to my enormous pregnant belly).

Today was a rainy day, but tomorrow, perhaps I’ll get some pictures of all that perfectness. 🙂

Happy hoping everyone!

It feels like we skipped summer and went straight on into fall — except for all the lovely green buds and bright tulips, of course!

This week we’ve gone down to temperatures of around 5 degrees, and it has been wet! Flooding isn’t a concern in our area, but Cat Creek is definitely high and running fast. Last night, as the temperature hovered near zero, I gave in and started up the wood stove. All those windows that were open? Not so much anymore, but I’ve kept the propane heat off.

Our heating system is propane-fuelled hot water. In our province, electricity is insanely expensive, and our house is quite large and leaky, so when we were deciding on a heating system, after evaluating all kinds of options, we finally settled for propane. It’s not cheap, either, but we felt it offered more advantages, a nicer heat, and believe it to be less expensive than electric heat would be. We plan to hook our BBQ up to it when we eventually upgrade, and Rupert can have a line run into the garage for a little spot heater or propane stove. Versatile!

However, to keep our heating costs down, we have two work-horse Regency wood stoves. We have one in the basement and one on the main floor, and we use them to get the room temperature up from 17 degrees (maintained by the hot water system) to comfortable. Wood heat is lovely, it does not rely on electricity to work so it can be a life saver during power outages. It offers a surface for boiling water or warming soup, if necessary, and is a renewable, sustainable, local resource. Stacking wood is a great way to get a little bit of exercise every couple of days; I reduce my dryer use by hanging clothes to dry on a rack near the basement stove; and a pot of water on top of the stove helps to keep the air at a comfortable humidity.

During the fall and winter the wood stove is our main gathering place, and as the ground floor is open concept, it gives a lovely glow to the whole room that we can see from wherever we’re sitting. The wood fire warms our hands and toes, but also our souls, and lends itself nicely to long chats or staring into the flames and daydreaming.

So today, on this grey cold spring day, I’ve got a couple of logs burning in the stove, and feeling a little less dreary because of it. Those tulips poking up help, too. 😛

How do you warm your house? How do you warm your soul? What choices have you made to reduce your heating costs or to make more environmentally-conscious choices?

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A little bird told me…

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