Tag Archives: house and garden

getting it done

Today was one of those good days where you feel like a few things actually got done. With Akka at school and Malli occupied, I, for the first time ever, cleaned under the fridge. This is what I found (minus the dust and grime):


Moving the fridge left strange yellow streaks on the floor until I discovered the yellow crayon bit and pried it out from under one of the fridge feet. Sheesh.

Once Akka was home, we dug into pumpkin carving. I asked the kids draw what they wanted on the pumpkins and I would carve them out. Akka is sufficiently indoctrinated with Halloween tradition to know to draw a face. Malli not so much.



Malli’s creative vision for his pumpkin was a bit beyond my carving skills (my thumb has stopped bleeding, thanks for asking) so we compromized on two eyes and a mouth. He went to town with the butter knife, significantly enlarging one eye:


Then we had to turn off all the lights and close all the blinds for a test-lighting since waiting for the sun to go down was going to take way too long.


Unrelated to Halloween but related to getting-it-done: scrap metal collectors finally came by to collect our old garage door and all the leftover siding from the garage construction. And, the new garage door arrived and was installed allowing me to post the long-awaited Glorious, complete “after” shot (alley side):


Here’s a refresher:





after (garden side):


Done! I’m holding myself back from installing shelves and hooks and moving all the crap from the basement out there. Mostly because I have two rattlesnake costumes hanging over me but also because of some building inspection uncertainties. Good days where you feel like a few things actually got done still end with to-do lists.

new garage, part one

Over the past month we’ve been working (mostly mentally and emotionally, with a touch of physically) on getting a new garage. The lovely little green garage that came with the house was quaint and picturesque but it was also rotten, treacherous, and didn’t allow K. to stand upright or fully open our car doors. I have several rips in the back of my winter coat from snagging it on nails as I bent through a half-opened door to drag a sleeping child out of a rapidly cooling car. The garage had to go.

Before (I was pruning. That’s why I’m in the tree):


I took care of the demolition. It was slow and methodical. While the kids slept or played at a safe distance, I carefully dismantled plywood sheathing and bone-dry planks and sodden mouldy roofing. I piled all the debris nail-side down. I cleaned up the one window pane that shattered.


Then, one weekend, we invited friends and neighbours over for the final tear-down. They were less methodical but rather more effective:



Last view of old garage:


Blank slate:


Next steps:  excavation, gravel, building forms, pouring concrete:






Skate park!


From this point on it’s brother-in-law MC on the job. Framing walls:IMG_6852

Attaching tin siding:


Side walls up:


Drill…. Beer….


Raising the front wall:



Cheering section:


Looking like a garage! This is the work to date. Glorious, complete “after” shot coming soon.


chef’n it up

Culinary urges have taken hold. Since I’m not growing food this year, I’m trying to make fresh in-season food to eat and possibly to store. I came home with two big bunches of basil from the farmer’s market and prepared my first-ever batch of pesto. It’s delicious because parmesan cheese may be the most plentiful ingredient.


Ready for the freezer:


Kale chips are a new favourite around here. Sprinkle kale leaves with oil and salt and bake for 8 or 10 minutes until crispy.



And just in case all the deliciousness was going to my head, full disclosure requires that I admit that my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies continue to fail by smearing themselves all over the pan and turning themselves into granola bars.



Our front yard is overgrown with cosmos and our back alley is sun-baked and barren. So we got the kids, along with a neighbour, to collect cosmos seeds from the front and sow them along cracks in the concrete in the back.






Hopefully next summer’s back-alley parties will find us in more lush and colourful surroundings.

rain barrel

We have a new rain barrel. It’s the first step in my future vegetable container garden. We’re probably too late to grow anything this year but I’m making plans to build the boxes and add the dirt and compost in anticipation of next spring. I can’t wait to water little sprouts with collected rainwater. In the meantime, the kids are using the water to “swab the deck!” every day. So, the water ends up where it would have landed had we not installed the barrel in the first place.


go play in the basement!

We have a new playroom! My mom and I spent two days cleaning, sorting, organizing and disposing of three years of basement stuff. Then we laid down some old rugs and scrap carpet, threw the loudest and biggest toys downstairs and proceeded to send the kids to the basement at every opportunity. It’s working like a charm. We had friends over the other night with two boys and all four kids stayed downstairs for ages, allowing the grown-ups uninterrupted eating and wine-drinking time. This may not sounds like much but to me, it’s a major turning point 3.5 years in the making.

I wish we’d taken a before picture. Here’s the after: