the_plan: (Seal Cove)
Didn't get nearly as much work done outside this weekend as I'd hoped - considering the weather was fine. Still we got 2 of the rugs pressure washed, and some trees trimmed. However, it did mean wanting to get an early start today before the sun got too hot. I know some of you Aussies are laughing at me calling 21°C "hot", but with the full sun beating down it's still plenty warm for yard work.

It did make for a beautiful morning in the garden though - hat, sunglasses, SPF 45, and bug spray and I actually got in a good 3 hours - which was the plan. Grant you, last night not really cooling off till after midnight, and we two being night owls by nature anyway, we didn't get to bed 'early' as planned. Still for us to be up, dressed, fed, and in the yard by 9am (an hour later than I'd originally planned), is really not all that bad. Work through the cool of the morning, lunch, and nap through the heat of the afternoon.

So the brush from the tree trimming is cleared, the bushes round the edge of the forest have been beaten back, weeding is done, a few more plants in, the lawn mostly mowed, and the edges mostly weed whacked. The yard looks far less like the forest is taking it over now. We managed to lose the soap nozzle for the pressure washer - still looking for it in the grass, so the other two rugs, and the outdoor furniture cushions will have to wait. Still once the sun is round the other side we should be able to finish pressure washing the deck.

Cool drinks, bacon and cheese sammiches, and an afternoon nap are now in order.

Pleased...

Jun. 5th, 2011 04:32 pm
the_plan: (Seal Cove)
The septic contractors were good as their word and arrived bright and early yesterday (just as I was on my way out to 'Mom's Day Off').

James was very pleased with how they worked. Their attitude, care and professionalism was first rate! Despite having to wait on the pumping truck they got everything prepared and ready to roll, then got some lunch early while they were waiting. No time wasted. Unfortunately with the ceiling of the tank caved in they couldn't pump out the rocks that were in it. So the answer was to pump out the sewage, leave the rocks, dig a hole right beside the new one and rebury it, filling it in with rock and dirt (no more collapses!)

They had to move the pile of topsoil I had in the driveway for the flower beds, so they very kindly moved it all to the big empty hole at the back where the tree stumps came out (which was exactly where I wanted it). Couldn't talk em into digging the rest of the swamp drainage trench for us, but we're really gonna have to get the mini excavator again anyway to finish smoothing out the BIG hole, but all in all not bad.

They took GREAT care not to damage the flower bed out front, which was quite amazing, it was so close to the hole I figured it was a goner. Not a single flower disturbed! And despite all the digging they did a very neat job of cleaning up after themselves and smoothed the soil out very well. Yeah I've still gotta put a little topsoil down there to cover some rock, and seed it with grass seed... but it's actually quite neat, considering how much we'd had it torn up from the excavator last fall.

When I think about the disaster that the septic tank caving in was, I'm really very pleased and relieved at the eventual outcome.

For the local folks - if you've got an issue, I can't recommend Wade's Excavating and Septic Services in Flatrock highly enough. These guys were just great.


AND as a bonus, James managed to get the laser working again (we won't talk about how BIG a scare having THAT not work was! Fortunately it was a very short lived scare) and did them a sample glass. They then bought an order of 20 on the spot! Ya know we could really make a go of the whole laser, dye sublimation printing thing if either one of us had a clue about marketing or sales (but that's a whole other post ...)


More musings on gardening. Pretty much the majority of my landscaping budget had been spent and I wasn't really planning on doing a lot more to the gardens this year, but MUN Botanical Gardens were having their annual flower and cuttings sale. It was for a good cause and I hadn't seen the Botanical Gardens yet, I slipped a few dollars in my pocket and off I went. I probably spent another $50, and I still don't really have a lot of an idea what I'm doing. I've got a general overall idea what I want to accomplish; so I got some more ground cover plants; a couple kinds of phlox, needed some ferns for the great gaping hole by the forest, some other interesting bits and pieces. But the real value of the trip was the inspiration! They have some amazing shade gardens. The biggest pain for me has always been how much shade I have to deal with here, nothing is completely a 'sunny' spot, and I've always been kind of unimpressed with the plants recommended for shade gardens. What I discovered was "Wow a hosta I actually LIKE!" and that I can have bright colour in a shade garden. Lots to inspire me, but I was also rushing. I did get some lovely photos of the gardens before my camera batteries died. So I think another more paced trip is in order, especially as more of their summer stuff starts filling in, with full camera batteries and a notebook in hand.

where I get carried away with pretty pictures )
Now I think I'll go re-pot some tomatoes and herbs.
the_plan: (Seal Cove)
Waiting on the septic guys to show up.

These are the second crew we called, the first ones promised to come out and have a look that day, then the next day, then the end of the week.... we never heard back from them. They lost our business.

This second guy, promised to have someone out that day, or early the next morning, and lo he arrived bright and early yesterday am.

When the hole first appeared in the yard - well it didn't exactly appear - I was walking across the lawn working on the front garden bed and suddenly ended up up to my hip in the earth. James heard me shriek and came and helped me out of it. We were pretty sure we'd either busted a septic pipe or something .... lord knows it stunk like septic and it bubbled and gurgled with every flush. Buddy had a look at it and it seems that we lost the top of the tank, and yes the whole thing will need replacing.

Honestly the whole thing has been a bit scary and had us on pins and needles. I figured if we were up for a new septic tank it was gonna be a $10K job, James figured $7.5K, turns out he quoted us $2700 + tax. That means that even if Western Bay doesn't sell, we can probably afford to hang on here for another year. It'll be tight, but we could do it. (and as time goes on really a year is gonna end up being closer to 10 months I think). Ya know combined with the shock of the $30K fencing quote, it just goes to show that obviously James and I have NO idea what anything costs!

So yesterday he says if the weather is fine, they had another job they needed good weather to finish up and we probably wouldn't see them till later in the day to start the job, but if the weather was poor they'd have to put a hold on the other job anyway and would be out first thing. Well the weather is gorgeous, so not sure when they'll be here but at least it's getting dealt with and it does mean that the listing will include "brand new septic tank", and now at least we'll know where it IS. (The sellers not knowing where the septic system was located delayed our closing when we bought the place by two days). Guess there really is a silver lining to everything. I just hope they don't have to end up ripping up my garden bed.


Addendum: ... and they were decent enough to call at a reasonable hour to say they won't be able to make it today would first thing tomorrow be alright?
the_plan: (Seal Cove)
I heard back from the contractors - even if Western Bay does sell, there's no way we could afford, or at least justify affording $30,000 to do the fences.

For that price we could buy a used Dingo with an auger which would be the right tool for the job (I'd hope). Of course it'd still take us far too much work, and far too long to do it. The dingo would be worth having..... might consider getting it and then just doing the horse yards with it. (Which in and of itself would cost $10K+ to get the contractors in for it)

I don't know... If we do stay another year, I'd really LIKE to have some better fencing; more accessible spaces for the dogs, but... the cost and the work is just so scary with all that ROCK.

I don't know if we have a Plan B this time.
the_plan: (Seal Cove)
When we last left our intrepid heroes they had a bunch of big gaping holes no plan, less money, and few plants from around the place had been moved.

But not knowing what we're doing has never stopped us before... )

Yeah it's still a long list.
the_plan: (Seal Cove)
Many moons ago I started working on the gardens. Gardens are tricky, really to be done properly they are a looooooooooong effort - years. I know there's all these silly shows on TV... Desperate Landscapes, Yard Crashers, Yard Wars.... they all make it look like it can be done in 24 hours, and given an army of helpers and an almost unlimited budget, there's a LOT you can do in 24 hours, but you can't grow a plant in a weekend.

Oh sure, you CAN buy mature plants, if you have the source and the cash, and don't mind a lot of annuals that'll be gone next year and have to be replanted.

When we moved in here, I wasn't thrilled with what gardening had been done. The bushes in the front beds weren't attractive in my mind, some of the plantings were very nice, but didn't seem to make much sense; things just dropped down in a place with no rhyme or reason. However, it was fall when we moved in, I had NO clue what I was doing, and I wanted to have a plan before we started.


Never did find a plan really... )
the_plan: (Seal Cove)
Wonderful! Found a contractor who actually answers and quotes promptly.

Avalon Fencing, I emailed them on Friday, they called me 10am this morning, "we'll come by, have a look and start a quote for ya. Would the next 15 minutes be good for you?"

They came, they looked, I think the size of the job; 1500 ft give or take over hills and rocks and through the woods; might have intimidated them a little.

I don't think there is anyway we could afford to have them do the WHOLE job, but if they're willing to just set all the fence posts and let us do the wire and rails then it may be possible to get this done.

All we need now is the numbers back from them, and word on the property in Western Bay
the_plan: (Bliss)
One of the problems with trying to chronicle this adventure that James and I have been on is well ... we're so busy adventuring it's hard to find not only the time, but the headspace to write about it.

One of the things I've been doing in my head - and I think this is a mistake - is planning on writing looooooooong posts when each job/room/project is finished. Kinda like DIY TV - see it go from drab to fab in 30 minutes.

But that was never really the point of this blog. It doesn't go from drab to fab in 30 minutes. I'm tired and I'm burnt out about a lot of things, and we still have so far to go, and yes - I've had WHOLE WEEKS of being a lazy cow and getting nothing done. Eventually though we move forward. And I think it's important to document the PROCESS. Whether that's a lazy day, or a full one. Whether I get one flower planted or twenty. This isn't all gloss and shiny and professional. We're just a couple of DIY hacks making do the best we can, sometimes that's better than others, but I think this blog has more value (well it has more value to me, I don't know about it's social value) if I record THAT part of it, the ALL of it.

And maybe you'll hear from me more often

And maybe writing the posts won't seem so long and huge and daunting that I end up putting that off as well.


In other news.. there's no news on the Western Bay property yet. Could be a few days, we'll see when we see.

Still we hope. Spent a large part of this morning discussing and researching the fencing project. This was the ONE job we really would have liked to do, but got cut for budget/sales considerations, however, if Western Bay does sell we're likely to stay here another year, and we'd really like to have the fence done, both for resale value and for the dogs. We'd have a budget for it.

It's a huge job though 12-1500 linear feet of fence. I wanted a nice 3 rail pressure treated wood fence. If the sale goes through we can afford the material - but I don't even want to think about what work putting in 150-200 fence posts in Newfoundland rock would be. It'd kill us both with only the two of us to do the job. Not gonna trade one set of heartbreaking stress for another. So I emailed a contractor, Avalon Rencing, I want to at least have them out for a free quote - maybe do the back sections in chain link and the horse yards in 3 rail, or maybe just get them to set the posts. I am presuming they'll have the kind of augers needed to go through the soil here. We looked at buying an auger ourselves and probably still will after the move, but for the job here, nothing we could afford would do the job.

Hopefully they'll get back to us in a few days. We haven't had much luck with contractors here, the landscaper came by for a look, never got back to us with the quote, the guy we called about the basement took 6 months to return my call with a "I understand you need a quote on a job?" - uh no... we've move on buddy, and now the septic guy... called him twice, he promised to be here before the end of the day, then the end of the week... that was LAST week - not even a call back. I really don't know what it is?

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