Saturday, September 30, 2006

Another busy wekend

Tawny acting the foolTawny acting the fool.
When Tawny thinks we are not paying sufficent attention to her, she finds a stick (or log) and rolls on her back, writhing around, playing with the stick with her paws and mouth, often getting tangled up in the leash, and with her tail wagging furiously all the while. The funny thing is that she will occasionally look at us out of the corner of her eye to make sure the attention getting action is continuing to be effective! She is very amusing!
Freshly cut lawn and trimmed treesThe lawn freshly cut.
Today I cut the entire lawn for the first time, including the part that was seeded. It looks far better now, and you can't even tell that the seeded part looked like it was mostly weeds before. I also trimmed the trees to eliminate some of the low-hanging branches that looked a bit scruffy. Looks pretty good now!
Fireplace is goingFireplace is now going.
Since it was a busy weekend, I also spent some time getting the fireplace going. The key thing was looking at the control for the Off-Pilot-On dial. Charles had shown me how to light it and I realized today that presumed that the indicator for the dial was at the 12-o'clock position. In reality, the indicator was at the 9-o'clock position. Once I got this sorted, then the fireplace started in a couple of minutes.

Fall colours

The leaves are just starting to change colours now. In dry summers, the colour change happens earlier - sometimes even in August - but we had a lot of rain in August and September, which reduced the stress on the trees.

Last night also was our first light frost.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

We had to raise the ground level at the back of the house by 1 foot when we had the grading done. That meant we had to raise the air conditioner unit as well as the propane tanks. (Yes, I did blog about this before.) The technicians for the company that put in the a/c did not check the putty around the hoses when they raised the external unit. I called the "quality manager" five times and spoke to him once when he said he would be out "that day" to fix the putty. He never came so I had to write a letter. Guess what? Instant response!

When I took Tawny out tonight to go potty, she sniffed at this rock on the driveway. I thought, how would that rock have got there. Then I looked a bit closer and saw eyes. Since rocks very rarely have eyes (unless they are fossils) it clearly wasn't a rock. This toad did jump to move, but it also kind of walked -- and that's when I took this photo.

In other news....
The only choice we have for high speed internet is Simply Surf. Another company that was potentially an option, but would have cost far too much for installation - between $750-$960 - has actually gone bankrupt so is no longer an option. A Simply Surf technician was by today to check signal strength and will be back next Thursday to get us set up.

Also, the company who will be installing the fence is coming next Thursday to start the installation.

We are still waiting for the company who did the lousy job of caulking to come and finish the job.

Monday, September 25, 2006


As you can see, the back yard is now noticeably green!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Two steps forward and one step back...

Yesterday, Freda and I decided that it was time to hang up our art, so we spent some time yesterday and today doing just that. That's the first step forward.

When walking Tawny today on the road behind our property, we noticed that we can see green in the back yard for the first time! That's the second step forward. (Pictures tomorrow!)

This photo shows the step back -- Freda noticed that deer have been chowing down on the lilacs that we planted about a month ago, as you can see in this photo. The surprising thing is that lilacs are supposed to be something that deer don't like to to eat!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

To the fair!

On Saturday we went to the Carp Fair. This fair bills itself as the "biggest little fair in Eastern Ontario". At the display of tractors, I found a couple of displays by Bob Miller, our good friend from Regina. Actually, I'm not sure if Bob has been this far east, there is a chance that it might be another Bob Miller, although chances are slim since it is such an unusual name! :))
This is a collage of some of the photos I took at the fair. Clockwise, from top left:
[TL] 1929 Oliver Hart-Parr tractor (one of the few that didn't look like it came straight out of a showroom). This tractor has solid rear tires. I suspect the rubber was added by a previous owner and is not original.
[TR] Gypsy Caravanner horse. Bred by gypsies in England to draw their caravans. The description said it is an intelligent horse, and is now used for many things.
[BR] Ducks and geese.
[BL] Pig and piglet - they looked like they were feeding while asleep.

This was the winning team from the 8-horse team of Clydesdales (I think). Amazingly massive animals, their hooves looked like the size of dinner places! I could feel the ground shake as the these horses trotted by a few feet away. I think this team won because everything they did was in unision, including picking up their feet and trotting along.

Obviously a labour of love as the owner must have spent many many hours training these horses.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Trimming the cedars

Yesterday I limbed the bottom part of the cedar trees (a clump of about 8 or 10 cedars), in order to reduce the bushiness of the trees, and to improve the visibility of the view from the house.

As a side effect, this will create a shelter for deer. Apparently deer like to shelter under trees like this in snowstorms, rainstorms, etc. We see the foot prints of deer all over the back yard, so we know they are there!

Friday, September 15, 2006

It's Green!

Here you can see the ground is is visibly green with grass, not just a tinge of green like before.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pictures from penultimate inspection

Clockwise, from top left:

Charles installing cold air return vent in basement.

White tubes on top of septic bed show that inspector has pulled them out after he confirmed that septic field was covered with the appropriate amount of topsoil.

Grading at front corner of house is not sloping in the right direction.

Window wells are not completed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Day 522 - Penultimate inspection

Blogger is not letting me upload pictures, so I will have to add the picture later.

We had our final inspection on Monday, Day 522. At least, it should have been the final inspection, but since it did not pass, it was our penultimate (second from last) inspection instead.

The inspector had three complaints:

(1) No cold air return in basement.
Since Charles started cutting out the hole for the cold air return in his presence, the inspector agreed not to mark that as an outstanding item. Charles is going to return on Wednesday evening to complete the cut-out and install a grill.

(2) No completion certificate of the septic system.
Charles is going to get that and fax it to the inspector.

(3) Exterior grading not sloping away from house everywhere.
The inspector had three areas that he had issues with: (a) an area by the back of the garage that wasn't filled in, (b) the window wells which were not completed, and (c) the north side of the house.

I have photos of some of these things, and will update this blog entry when I can upload photos once again.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Down about Downspouts

This is a view of the front of the house - you can see the grass seed is really starting to take. Yippee!!!
We had eavestroughing installed. Before doing so, I asked Jason, who was going to be adjusting the grading around the house, if we should installed the eavestroughs before or after he did his work. Jason said "before", so we had the eavestroughs installed.

Then Jason's crew came along and they raised the level of the ground by the house, which meant that the downspouts were too low! Today I corrected that for three downspouts (shown in this collage on the top row and bottom right). There are two downspouts that I can't really raised because the parging was done around the downspouts, instead of underneath them! There are a couple of others that are on the downhill side of the house that I didn't change - they may need to be changed next year.

The photo on the bottom left represents about 14 or 15 wheelbarrow loads of rocks that Freda and I pulled out of the topsoil. I spread those rocks out here to prevent erosion on this slope beside the house.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Final inspection!! (we hope)

We are supposed to have our final house inspection on Monday, am waiting for confirmation from Charles that it is arranged.

We have been "finalled off" for our electrical inspection.

What a week of rain and heavy dew does...

The grading of the backyard was completed last week, and we managed to get the grass seed down (about 100 lbs of seed) just before it started to rain on last Friday. We have had heavy dew in the mornings (accompanied by thick fog), and more rain again yesterday.

These are the pictures of the results.

Back view from the road adjacent to the property, after the proper grading has been completed, topsoil spread and grass seeded. We are not doing any landscaping in the back yard this year.

We had to get 4" of topsoil put on the septic bed before we can get the final inspection for it. Freda spread the grass seed on the septic bed. You can't see any green from the grass at this distance yet, although you can see a tinge of green from the vantage point of the house.

When I spread grass seed on the back 40, I added more seed to the front lawn. It is now starting to sprout and most of the front lawn now looks green.

Don't look too closely otherwise you will see a lot of weeds in amongst the green!
From the posts last week, you know that our house was designed to be wheelchair accessible, which means all doors (or at least the important ones) are 36" wide. Somehow this was missed for the exterior doors!?!?! This is the door from the garage to the laundry room after it was changed from a 34" door to a 36" door. David did a really good job on this. - the trim work and the painting is impeccable.

Mike Holmes, the title and hero of HGTV's Holmes on Homes was on ellen show with Ellen deGeneres. Ellen introduced him to a couple who had the misfortune to hire a bad contractor.

I really like Mike Holmes. Both Charles and the electrician don't like him - not sure why. The electrician even rolled his eyes when I mentioned Mike Holmes.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

window wells

Proper grading is required in order to pass the final inspection for the house. When the back yard was properly graded to slope away from the house, the ground level by the house was raised by about a foot.

Since raising the backfill fill level by 1' would raise the ground over the bottom of the basement windows, we had to have window wells installed.

Freda and I went to Rona and brought them home in the car - sticking out of the trunk (they are surprisingly bulky, and expensive too).

Here Dave is moving a bit of dirt so he can fasten the window wells to the walls with concrete anchors.