Friday, December 29, 2006

Pano - Dec 29,2006

Panorama view from across the lake.

We had just finished clearing up some deadfall from last year. We weren't confident that the ice was thick enough to bear our weight, so we left the part of the tree that had fallen into the lake for a bit later.

Snow plow

You're probably wondering - what's the big deal about a snow plow?

The big deal is that the city told me in November that they wouldn't be coming down the road to plow it and we would have to get a private contractor. We did, but if the city is going to plow the road then we won't have to do that next year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pano - Dec 28, 2006

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

We have had quite mild weather in December. The snowfall that we had in early December had completely disappeared, and the ice covering the lake had started to recede. It got cold again on Monday (Christmas Day), and we had a bit of snow overnight. The colder weather meant the lake started to refreeze, and is now completely covered with a thin film of ice, as evidenced by the snow that we got over night (only about 1/2 cm).

Propane refill

We use propane for heating the water for the radiant floors as well as domestic hot water (with the same boiler). We also have a propane stove, fireplace and dryer. This means if there is a long power outage (like the ice storm in 1998 that left some people in the coutry without power for over two weeks), we can live mostly normally with heat, water, and cooking and laundry facilities, etc. (We wouldn't be able to run an electric range with a small generator.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Clean like a pro!

An article in the Ottawa Citizen mentioned that microfiber cloths worked like a charm for cleaning taps, mirrors, etc. All you had to do was get them slightly damp and then wipe down - no cleaner needed.

Now, you could go and pay $20 for a set of 2 microfiber cloths at a specialty shop. I had bought a package of microfiber cloths at Costco for wiping down the car after washing it (no - I never did wash the car this year either!), 20 cloths for $15 or so.

After showering, I sqeegee the glass, and then wipe the glass and taps down - this gets the cloth slightly damp - and then I wipe down the taps on the sink after I get out of the shower. Everything is sparkly and shiny like new!

There you have it - a tip on how to clean like a pro.

Pano - Dec 21, 2006

I have started to take a set of photos every Thursday and put them together into a panorama. I have a spot that I stand on every week, and take a series of photos. The photo below was put together by the autostitch software (read more about it in my post here). I am still getting used to taking enough photos with sufficient overlap to create a panorama that I can crop the jaggedness off the edges. I didn't quite make it again today.

To see all the panorama photos, click on "pano" where it says "Labels: pano" just below this post.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Panorama - Dec 14, 2006

Thursday December 14th, 2006

Tawny, listening intently to something across the road.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Well, we had a busy weekend.

One thing we got accomplished was making this headboard. It looks pretty darned nice if I do say so myself.

Oh, Charles is coming over on Monday morning to review the outstanding deficiencies list. This is about 8 1/2 months after we "moved in", and 6 1/2 months after we created the initial list. Still, not everything is done. Sigh.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sat Dec 9th - sunset

What a gorgeous sunset!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dec 7th snowfall

Extremely beautiful!

Panorama - Dec 7, 2006

December 7th, 2006

The lake is starting to freeze - still an open section just across from where I am standing.

Today, echoes of "a day that will live in infamy" ring in my head...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Why we have the dog shower

As usual, Freda walked Tawny yesterday afternoon, after getting home from work. It was not very nice - since it was freezing rain. Tawny found something that was stinky, and especially interesting to her since it was also mushy from the rain, and rolled in it. She got herself good and covered with the mess - more than likely some kind of scat.

This is precisely why we have the dog shower.

Tawny doesn't really like being washed, and you can tell she is dreading it by the way she has her ears back and is looking somewhat sheepish.

Friday, December 01, 2006

And so winter begins

The first snow of winter. This was followed by several hours of freezing rain. Fun. Not!

Oh, and the caulking didn't get done either.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Last chance

This is the weather forecast for Medicine Hat, Edmonton, and Ottawa. The forecast for Ottawa for the rest of the week +10C, +14C rain, +12C. So this is the very last chance to get the caulking done before the cold weather arrives on the weekend! (Forecast is -5C for Sun/Mon.)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A busy Saturday

Tawny enjoying a bit of a run, waking up the geese. :)

This is what the entrance to our road looks like now, with the granular A (GA) down. It is about 10' wider than the previous road.

Yes, I did mow the lawn today.

Amazing for two reasons.

1st, that I could mow the lawn - since it is November 25th!

And 2nd, that the grass even needed mowing! It has been so mild that the grass has kept growing.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Neighbours moved in

Some neighbours moved in on Tuesday (Nov 21st). There house is completed (only deficiency is the cold air returns in basement are not flush with the wall).

Quite incredibly, we are at Day 597, and we are still having to fight to get the deficiencies fixed!

Photos taken: July 10, 2006 (after footings were poured etc) and November 17th, 2006: moving van.

Our neighbours moved everything in on November 21st, a mere 134 days after their house construction started.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Finally, the road prep

Finally, the road prep has started.

Quite a long time after it was promised.

All we have see thus far are survey stakes and a few loads of sand/gravel dumped in a couple of spots.

Kanata Santa Claus Parade

Santa was riding on the top of a fire truck. This was the last vehicle in the parade.

The fire truck and police drivers kept doing their whoop-whoop sirens which freaked Tawny out.

She didn't like the big trucks either. I think their noise frightened her.
There was only one horse-drawn float in the parade..

And it had no decorations on it.

The lack of decorations or even creativity that went into the parade overall was quite disappointing and extremely unexciting.

Most vehicles had a few simple last-minute decorations like just a bow, and windows open blasting Santa Claus is coming to town. This Pontiac Soltice one such example, except the decorations consists only of a hat for the driver!

This is the Scion xB - made by Toyota but supposedly not available in Canada. Paul Williams, one of the best writers on Canadian Driver (IMO), says "Toyota says it would cost too much to bring the dealer and service infrastructure to Canada, to justify the sales that they would expect here.".

This company had 3 xBs in the parade. Cheap advertising, I guess, as this one only had a big ribbon on it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Some deficiencies fixed

This post shows the results of the deficiencies that were addressed on Thursday, November 16th.

This is the before photo in the cold storage room.

This is the after photo in the cold storage.

The loose hanging plastic has been cut down. The dryer duct has been covered with insulation.

The white drain pipe has been added to the pressure relief valve for the boiler - this is a safety improvement.

Since it was raining, Charles went into the attic and found that the chimney was leaking as we had said, and then went onto the roof and found where the problem was. Since he couldn't fix it right away - he had to order something called a "chase top" (I am still not sure what this is) - he tied some garbage bags on top to keep the water out. It rained all day today. I think the chase top was supplied by the roofer, so think this was the roofer's screw-up. The same company did the caulking, and if you have been reading this blog you know what a major mess that was.

We are glad that this significant issue was finally acknowledged and the root cause of the problem was identified.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Insulation deficiency fixed

Charles came on Monday and took care of the attic insulation deficiency. This is a photo of the insulation over some of the pot lights.

Pot lights have a plastic vapour barrier (building code requirement) and then the insulation goes on top. The insulation should be about 10 inches thick, but the insulation contractor did not do that properly. Charles addressed the situation by putting a batt of fiberglass insulation over the pot lights and fluffing up the insulation where it had become compressed.

Although we were hoping all the deficiencies would be fixed today, only the insulation ones were addressed. Charles is coming back Thursday to take care of the rest (we hope!).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day 2006

Remembrance Day 2006. Cold rain. Just like most Remembrance Days.

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

On this day, we remember the eternal sacrifices of our relatives and others:

Bill Christopher - virtual memorial - Calgary Highlanders. Circumstances of death unknown. More details can be found in the Remembrance Day 2005 blog entry.

Ron Taylor - virtual memorial - Royal Canadian Artillery. Killed by a mine explosion. Circumstances of Ron's death are documented in the RCHA book "Right of the Line: An Anecdotal History of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery from 1871" by Mitchell, MC, CD Maj. G.D. (1986).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A tidy garage!

I wrote on Sunday that I put up a shelf and cleaned up the garage. Well - mostly did that on Sunday. Tonight I finished cleaning up the one part of the garage so I can park my car in that spot. There will still be lots of space for the snowblower, etc.

The other single car bay still needs a bit of organizing - that is where we are going to store the patio furniture for the winter.

Monday, November 06, 2006

No show

So I worked at home on Monday, waiting and waiting for nobody to show show up.

This photo was taken at 12:30pm on Monday Nov 6th.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Garage cleanup

Today we cleaned up the garage. It was a mess since it has been the "workshop" whenever the builder's crew or someone else needed to come back to do something. (And as you know, they have had many trips back to correct this and that.) I built a shelf across the front of the garage to store the various gardening bits. I still have about an hour of cleanup to do, but that involves taking my car out of the garage and doing some rearranging, so I left that for another day.

We are expecting more people tomorrow - we don't know who is coming as of yet. We asked Charles to please co-ordinate everyone for one final day. We also also asked Charles to give us a list of who's coming and what are they fixing so we can make sure that there is alignment between our expectations and Charles' plans. As of right now (11:30pm Sunday), we haven't heard if there are any plans.

I brushed Tawny tonight. The pile of hair almost covers an entire tile! What you can't really tell from this 2-D photo is that the pile of hair is about 3" thick at the middle.

Tawny won't sit still for Freda to brush her, but she will sit still for me. She sometimes gets her legs going if I find a particularly spot where she enjoys the brushing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


This was a panorama photo I put together from 4 others. This was an awesomely beautiful day!

This is Tawny, waiting patiently on the front step of the neighbour's house, hoping that their dog Vasha can come out to play. They run and chase each other like the crazy canines that they are.

Tawny is younger than Vasha (3 1/2 yrs vs 5), but Vasha is a more slender dog (being a mix with Lab and something else). They do play very well together.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Barbecue deck complete

We had snow flurries today, but nothing stayed, thankfully! Unlike Edmonton where these it looks freezing cold (according to tonight's news).

This is the finished barbecue deck. The skirting really finishes it off, but also makes it uninhabitable for critters.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Back pains & the Better Business Bureau

When I was placing the rocks for the steps on the weekend, I twisted  my torso to place a rock and got a twinge in my back.  Ouch!  I spent most of Monday flat on my back on the floor and expect that will be the same thing today.  My observation (and this is not a unique one) is that most daytime tv shows should have vapid or insipid in their titles.  For example, the Vapid Regis and Insipid Kelly Show....

Also, I heard from the Ottawa Better Business Bureau that they have forwarded our complaint to the fireplace company for resolution.

Monday, October 23, 2006


This panorama was created by "autostitch" from seven photos that I took in February last year, when Freda and I took a walk around and over the lake. You can tell it is a composite photo because there are two Tawnys and one of then is sorta hazy/fuzzy.

I didn't crop the photo so you could see how powerful the software is - because it warps the source images if needed to accomodate change in location, camera direction, etc, when combining the photos.

You can download a demo version of the autostitch software from the UBC web site.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A view of the deck

This photo shows the deck from a bit of a distance to show how nice the deck looks with the lattice and boxed in stairs. (I need to do the same thing to the barbecue deck also.) I placed some flat stones at the bottom of the steps to give a nice solid footing when stepping off the stairs. I used stone as it gives a more natural look here in the back yard.

I filled in the cracks between the large stones just to the right of the deck with sand and crushed stone. It has a much cleaner look now.

Changing the vents

Freda found the whiteness of the floor registers too bright and attention getting. So we went and purchased taupe vents to replace the white ones.

This photo shows (a) the taupe register looks much better against the hardwood flooring, and (b) the builder's crew and the various trades left a pile of garbage in every vent. How disappointing.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Caulking nightmares

The builder had subbed out the job of caulking to the company that did the roofing and the soffit and fascia installation.

They have come back 3 times and it is still an awful job - holes everywhere and the sloppiest messiest caulking job you could ever imagine.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Automotive harvest

An all too common sight, unfortunately, dead wildlife beside the road.

This is the front paw of an adult racoon found beside Howie Rd on Wednesday morning. There was a smaller racoon beside it, perhaps a juvenile.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

A productive weekend!

We didn't get our Certificate of Completion for our septic, as it failed the final inspection because "Mantle must be extended to 15m, 0.25m thick at 15m". Personally I do not understand how we could have failed the final for this reason when we got a temporary use permit almost a year ago. Anyway, enough whinging...

A load of sand was delivered on Thursday and spread out on Friday. That should take care of the missing mantle. (And I thought it was Mr. Peacock in the Library with the Rope....)

Hopefully we will be able to get the septic completion certificate now. I hope the septic inspector doesn't want topsoil on top of this sand! He seems to be a real stickler for details so I guess it is a possibility.
Today, Jason came and fixed up the grading on the north side of the house. The inspector didn't like the grading on that side, by the window wells and a few hollows by the side of the garage and beside the air conditioner.

Once I get those other hollows taken care of, we can finally get our final inspection!

Deck is now complete! Yaayyyy!!!
Our goal this weekend was to complete the big deck. The only outstanding item was the stairs since we put the wire mesh (hardware cloth) and lattice on last weekend.

Last weekend, I had cut out the stringers. This weekend, I dug out the dirt and placed some clear stone under the stringers for better drainage. Then I installed the stringers, the treads, and some skirting to dress it up.

The stairs are about 13 feet wide. The building code requires stringers every 3 feet, but I put in 7 stringers, which is just over 2' between each stringer. Yes, the entire deck is somewhat overbuilt, but it is very sturdy!
This photo shows the final finishing details of the skirting at the end of the stairs. This was a bit of finicky work, but it makes it look "Pro-Fesh-un-ul".

Not just sturdy, but very nice to look at too!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Looking cool!

Tawny is looking cool.

She is looking forward to enjoying her new fenced in yard - just completed today!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thanksgiving Monday

There were two primary areas that the inspector was concerned about re: grading around the house. One was the north side of the house -- we are still waiting for the Bobcat to come back to fix that up -- and the other was the window wells. However, I needed some clear stone in order to complete the window wells. On Saturday when we were walking Tawny, we saw the landscaper's truck drive down our road, but he was gone by the time we got back to our house. Yesterday Freda discovered that he had dropped off the clear stone we had been waiting for, so I was able to finish the window wells today. I placed landscape fabric and scattered a few shovels of stone to hold the fabric in place, and then dumped the load of stone, levelling it out and stomping it down a bit.

So that's one more thing completed.

The other area I needed the stone for was by the back deck. I need some stone to level out the area for the steps. I dumped two wheel barrow loads when I took this picture, and will need a few more. The pile of stone is about half gone so the amount should be just about perfect.

This photo is of the antenna for our new wireless high speed internet service. The blue blobs in the sky tell me that the camera lens is dirty and needs cleaning! :)