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)
Sooo with thunderstorms and rain I'm not out in the garden today, and I'm less interested in going walkies with the dogs (although I still might if it dries up a little this afternoon). So I've spent the morning lazing about on the computer, updating my long lists of 'Interesting Properties' and doing a bit of daydreaming.

Despite being thoroughly convinced that we really don't want to 'pay for someone else's renovation' every once in a while I happen across some listing over our price range an already renovated home that pings all my bells and whistles, or something so extraordinary it just makes me drool.

In the six plus months of doing this, I've only had 3. Came across the third one this morning. Despite a) not wanting to be in town/village b) wanting 35-300 acres c) wanting ocean frontage d) not wanting to pay for someone else's renovation: This property is damned near perfect. At almost 4 acres it's more than double what we have now, the house has been beautifully sympathetically renovated, it has gorgeous workshop/barn space, it has a separate apartment for the Feychild and her Pippin, it has it's own pond for Buddy, and it already has my three rail fence. It is delightful and charming. And it's $379,000

A few weeks back I bookmarked an oceanfront property in Gabarus Cape Breton. This house needs a bit more work than the other one. But dude! 161 acres of beachfront, 1500 ft of shoreline - of sand dunes and rocks and ocean for the puppers to play in! There's also a barn and fields for my gardens. An oh my word the privacy! We could be right good hermits there! Price? $390,000.

Honestly right now, if we $350-$400,000 to spend I'd be hard pressed to say which I liked better.

I did have one $3,000,000 marked, just because it's the only million+ property I've seen I actually LIKED. But do I like it better than these two... honestly I'd be hard pressed to say I liked it $3,000,000 worth more. After all for all the dramatic 4000' ocean frontage - it's only 70 acres and it's not as private as Gabarus. It's a nice house - biggish at 3300 sq ft, but we have almost that much now and want to DOWNSIZE (I hate cleaning 3000+ sq ft of dog hair). The house certainly isn't as charming in my mind as the Midway house. It's a bit more beach house than century character. And Midway has the charming barn and guest apartment....

Nope I can't see myself spending $3,000,000 on a house even if we DID win a lottery, I think I'd rather buy one of the others and spend a few dollars on it.
the_plan: (Welcome to the Kitchen)
You've heard me talk of my dream of an 'Apothecary Kitchen'. The kitchen reno we've done here is a lot more traditional kitchen than that, but I'm always tinkering with that plan for that perfect kitchen dream.

But what is an 'Apothecary Kitchen', and why?

The apothecary kitchen is one filled with jars and bottles and vials of powders and liquids and herbs and colours and scents. It's filled with tools and devices - some of it seems magical and mysterious. What sort of powders?

the spices the spices
The results of a recent spice restocking trip. I saw a TV show recently where someone opened a spice drawer and the host was agog at the array of 24 bottles.... I have 60. 60 different flavours, spices, and I'm still missing mace, hot paprika, and a few others.

the spices the spices
For me, the one 'art' I consider myself an adept with. I love all the arts, but cooking is where I can call myself talented. Professional? No. I've just not got the hand/eye coordination to be able to do it in a professional environment, but I do have the creativity.

Spices are my paint box. Chicken, fish, beef, pork - they're just meat until you add the spices, add the flavour. They are the canvas, the spice cupboard is what I create with.

the spices the spices

the pantries the pantries
And then there are the pantry cupboards. There simply isn't enough storage in our kitchen. Not enough space fror my spices, for our glassware collection, for our cookware collection, for the small appliances, and for the FOOD.

the pantries the pantries
So we added stand alone pantry cupboards, 3 of them, and they're overflowing. They don't really work in the kitchen, so they're around the corner in the mudroom (which without a door is a bit more of a hallway extension). It's a solution here, but it's not the dream.

The 'Apothecary Kitchen' has a separate pantry, walk in cooler, and it has... OPEN shelving. Yes, yes, I know it's a decorator blashphamy but one thing I've learned: if you cook cupboards are an abomination! How much time do you spend when cooking digging through a cupboard for a bowl, a tool, or a can hidden at the back? It's a frustrating waste. Open shelving, no more than 2 items deep, hanging pot racks these elminate that aggrevation. Look at pro kitchens, look at cooking shows, ask a good home cook - open shelves. The ability to reach one handed and get what you need. 'What about the mess?", you cry. My kitchen will be an artist's studio - it's not supposed to be neat, it's supposed to be functional and creative. "A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind". I'm looking forward to having space to be MESSY!


Mar. 4th, 2011 12:57 pm
the_plan: (Default)
Ya know, what we really need is a 'DIY" TV series of our own...

With the huge proliferation of DIY shows and interest and networks on the cable dial these days, I'm not sure there's really enough Canadian content.

I mean really - we have Bryan Baeumler, Mike Holmes, Sarah Richardson and Ambrose Pryce, there's a few others - Income Properties, Marriage Under Construction, but we've also lost Jim Caruk (now doing his wonderful BIY Workshops), Colin and Justin have got their hands full in a 100 new and exciting projects, and Family Renovation kinda finished up after only one family. So amid a small handful of new shows by already known presenters there's a ton of reruns, and American content (both old and new).

I think we need new Canadian content.
Intelligent content, less about fools and their follies, or experts, but just real, everyday people, doing what most real everyday people do - real projects, real problems, dealt with in real ways. Or maybe that doesn't make good TV.

Of course most real people also don't sell up their executive home to move further out into the wilds to build a sustainable lifestyle and create an over the top artist retreat EITHER.

And ya know, the show would have a little bit of everything.
Money and downsizing in a touch economy
Renovating and decorating for resale
Selling a house
Buying a house/property (out of province no less!)
Next season we could cover the working on the new house, building the barns and cottages

Just to mix it up - we could do guest spots - all those well known and well loved faces? We'd invite them in, Sarah can come do a room, we'll give Colin and Justin one whole cottage to make over, Bryan can come help sort out the kitchen electrical (heck he's looking for new projects to film), and Mike can show you how to build a PROPER country fence that'll actually keep the dogs in. I figure we can get at least 2 maybe three episodes outta James and I flying off to Toronto to do Jim Caruk's BIY Bootcamp. Scott McGillivray can advise on what one best needs to get out of the cottages to make money on em...

Yeah it's a hell of a brief I tell ya...
Brilliance - pure brilliance.

Too bad I don't know any TV production companies I could sell the idea to.
Guess I go back to hoping one day this blog might pick up a sponsor or two.


the_plan: (Default)

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