Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend of nice weather and accomplishments

February 26, 2010 pano

You can see Tax and Tawny at the far left of the photo. One of Taz's ears looks funny - he must have been flipping his head around when I took this photo.

Tawny doing 'frog dog' in the snow and enjoying the sniffs. She really likes laying in the snow in the spring.

Tawny panorama - February 26, 2010

We cleaned up the basement this weekend. We took the bed upstairs after this photo was taken.

Yep, had to wear shorts today when we took the dogs out for their afternoon walk as it was so warm. No gloves, and didn't zip up my coat either. I had Taz on the leash because it took off for a big run in the morning and strained his leg.

We were dogsitting Max (little black schnauzer) this weekend. I tried to get a photo of Tawny catching the Kong, and this is as close as I could get. She did just catch it in this photo, and it's a great one of Max running too.

February 28, 2010

This plane flew really low overhead when we were out with the dogs.

When I was trying to turn the flash off so I could take a photo of the plane, I somehow got this pre-made border set up. That's why the photo of the plane shows it flying away from us. Anyway, after all that excitement, I took a photo to see what it looks like.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More snow!!

It's snowing again!! It seems like it hasn't stopped snowing since I returned from Edmonton. At least it has been mild, near 0C, so that part is good - even though it does make the snow a sloppy gloppy mess, especially on the roads.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Painting and fireplace cleaning

Time to paint the area in the basement!

First, I did all the brushwork. I brushed in around the trim (that will eventually be painted the colour Cable Knit -- same as upstairs) and the electrical. Since there will eventually be a finished ceiling, I painted a line just above the bottom of the joists to make it seem somewhat neat, and sort of a faux ceiling line, as well as making a neat line at the bottom of the wall.

This after I completed the colour coat. It looks quite nice, I think.

Also, note that the ground wire really disappears into the wall. I am quite pleased with how that turned out.

I also cleaned the fireplace, as a bit of soot builds up on it. This is the before photo -- it's a bit close so you can't really see how dirty the glass is. Note the darkness starting about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom - that is soot on the glass. You can see that the bricks are darker - it's because there is soot on the bricks, but that is mostly obscured by the soot on the glass.
This is the fireplace after I removed the glass. You can see the soot buildup on the bricks much more clearly here. You can also notice that there is a 'log' that is just laying on the bottom of the firebox at the front middle, just in front of the grate. That is clearly out of place. Obviously Charles doesn't know how to read and follow instructions like 1-2-3...

Fortunately the soot comes off very easily. I used an old toothbrush since I figured any brush I used would be useless for any other purpose afterward.

And this is what the firebox looks like after all the soot is cleaned off. Much nicer.

After I removed the logs, I gently brushed them to remove the soot buildup. Because the logs were not installed correctly, one of the logs had a huge chunk of soot on it that fell off when I set it on the newspaper.

This is the fireplace after I put the logs back in place. Properly, I might add. You can see that the errant log is no longer in the wrong place but is properly positioned.

Next step was to clean the glass. First I used paper towels to get all the loose and easily dislodged soot off. Then I applied glass cleaner to the glass. It said to apply a thin film and wait 1-2 minutes and then wipe off. I took this photo while I was waiting the 1-2 minutes.

Wow! The cleaner really did a nice job on cleaning up the glass - the glass felt very smooth, like it was polished. I liked it so much that I did the outside (room side) of the glass too.

And now, this is with everything cleaned and put back together. It looks much much nicer. I should have turned the gas on for this photo, but I'll take a photo the next time I put the fireplace on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A gentle snowfall

Snow was falling gently when I took the dogs out for a walk. It was hovering around 0C, so the snow was very wet and good for snowballs, as it sticks together. The trees were gorgeous!

Here's another photo of the trees, but with the dogs in it too.

Monday, February 22, 2010

a mild day for Primer

It was very mild. I went on poop patrol in my painting shorts, my wellies, and a toque!!

Since I was painting the primer in the basement, I also slapped a bit of primer on the closet patch.

This is what the basement looked like when it was painted with primer. Much improved!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Faux pho

So I decided to try to make a version of pho - a Vietnamese (I think!) soup with noodles, vegetables and bit of meat. I started with this package of soup flavouring.

I cooked the noodles separately. This is what they looked like -a pale version of spaghetti.

This is with everything in the pot. I added spinach leaves for the greenery, and chopped up some red peppers too. I had mushrooms in the fridge but forgot about them, otherwise I would have added them too.

The soup looked pretty good. It did smell spicy though.

Marks' verdict: yummy
Freda's verdict: too hot
Both of us: yucky noodles

So there won't be a next time for faux pho...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Caution: Dogs at Play

Photo taken February 17, 2010

On the way back from our morning walk, Tawny decided she wanted to lay in the snow. Of course, that was after she buried her nose in the snow trying to sniff something out.

Pano February 18, 2010

This is a small pano in the back 40, looking towards the house. Taz and Tawny are sniffing up a storm, of course.

Here Toffee is enjoying a taste of fresh snow - yum yum yummy!!! And in the background, Tawny is running around like a fool, of course.

I tried to get a photo of Tawny catching the Kong, but this was as close as I could get... It's harder to do that than you might think, if you are the person who is throwing the Kong as well as trying to take the picture.

Of course, after a hard morning of play, you have to have a reward!!! Here the dogs are all sitting pretty, with a very tasty treat of dried chicken in front of them. They are certainly all well behaved --- good doggies!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Strange things

This entry is updated - see blue text below.

I had the misfortune of having to take a sudden trip to Edmonton. Actually, it was a misfortune for my whole family as the reason for the trip was my dad had a massive heart attack and passed away. That is the reason for the change of colour scheme on this blog - to indicate that the world has changed for us. We miss you Dad!!

February 11, 2010

When I was away, Freda was walking the dogs and noticed this strange alien looking claw sticking out of the snow. Freda had to use my old camera, which doesn't really work that well anymore, and this is what it captured. This 'claw' reminded me of ET, from the movie of that name.

Strangely, on the flight home from Calgary, I watched an old episode of Dick Tracy from the 1930s or so, and had a villain who was called The Claw. I am just guessing at the year of the movie as it was listed as 2009, which clearly it was not.

Yesterday we went and looked for The Claw and took another photo. I put my winter glove in the photo for scale, and you can see that the claw is huge!! It also looks a lot like it's from a large bird. Freda was talking with a friend Isabelle who said that it is a red-tailed hawk wild turkey. Apparently foxes bury their food for later consumption.

Red Tailed Hawk - photo taken August 8, 2009

I did take a photo of a pair of red-tailed hawks last August, unfortunately they were almost all fuzzy. This is the best photo that I have of a Red Tailed Hawk, it's only one of the pair because the other photos are blurry (sorry). As you can see from this photo, they are quite large birds. Yes, it is true that Red Tailed Hawks are large birds, but they are still too small for The Claw... (I should have thought of that before...)

We are dog sitting this week. Toffee joined us for a week in mid-February last year, and is visiting us again this year. Toffee is a yellow lab but has very different colouration from Tawny. It was a beautiful temperature this morning, so I got the dogs to sit at the end of our walk and pose for a picture. Aren't they cute?

Panorama February 16, 2010

I got the dogs to sit while I took 11 photos for a panorama, and this is the full panorama. As you can see, we haven't had much snow since January 1st, and of course the heavy rains that we had melted quite a bit of snow. Edmonton actually has more snow than we do here in Ottawa.

The dogs were very tired this evening, because we had a long walk this afternoon. As a result, they were all quite well-behaved. Freda wasn't though, as she's having some fun at Toffee's expense!!! haha :) But Toffee is a dog and doesn't mind at all.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Basement update

I've been preparing part of the basement walls for painting.

This is one of the walls. When the house was built, the drywallers only did the taping and the first coat of the drywall mud. So I applied a coat of drywall mud, sanded it, and then another coat of mud and sanding.

This is the area right by the stairs. You can see, at the far right side of this photo, the ground wire is fasted to a 1x4 that is fastened to the wall. That needed to be cleaned up a bit.

I bought a wire cover at Rona. It was in two pieces, a piece with double-sided tape that sticks to the wall and another piece that snaps on top. I can't put the bottom piece completely underneath because the ground wire is stapled to the 1x4, so I cut the bottom parts into pieces that fit under the wire between the staples.

This is a closeup in the process of installing the bottom part of the wire cover.

This is what the wire cover looked like after I snapped the top piece on. It looked a lot better, except fro the side where you could see these gaps, which was kind of ugly.

As I was caulking the joints, I decided to apply cauk to the gaps (shown above). It looks a lot better.

And this is what it looks like from an overall view. It definitely looks a lot better, and should almost totally disappear once it is painted.

Since the plaster prep is completed, it is time for the caulking, of course, to fill the cracks and nail holes in the trim around the windows and door.

The trim looks a lot better after caulking.

The next step is to paint primer on the drywall, then a colour coat on the walls, and then paint the trim to finish it up.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cooking - cauliflower mac and cheese

Tonight I made a vegetarian dish - cauliflower macaroni and cheese. These are all the ingredients.

Substitutions: I used a whole cauliflower instead of just half a one. I didn't have fresh parsley so I used parsley flakes. But I didn't have enough parsley flakes so I added tarragon flakes. I also added a bit of ground chili and some chili flakes for a bit of spice. I grated some parmesan to replace the havarti the recipe called for. I didn't add the optional cubed ham or roast beef because I wanted it to be a vegetarian dish.

The Oxo packets were chicken flavouring as the recipe called for blanching the cauliflower in chicken stock. After blanching and draining, the recipe called for saving 1/2 cup of stock. Instead of throwing the rest of it down the drain, I added it to the water that I cooked the macaroni in. I mixed the cooked macaroni in with the cauliflower and the spices, and then added the cheese and a touch of turmeric.

This is what it looked like after it came out of the oven. It smelled heavenly!

And we enjoyed the dish with some salad. It certainly added some nice coulour to the plate too.

Tawny enjoyed it too, as you can tell from her vigorous licking... and her hanging onto the pan with her paw!