Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gardening on Earth Day

So I only learned after the fact that I was working in the garden on Earth Day. It's just so beautiful today!

I am taking pictures weekly of the garden and posting them on Facebook. I also have been trying to post a video tour I made last year with my dad's camera, but it won't work for some reason. I think there's a three-video limit that they're not revealing.

But the garden is looking pretty good. I spent the first part of the morning cutting dead branches off one of my rosebushes and weeding my vegetable garden. I was quite surprised to return from Toronto yesterday to find all the hyacinth in full bloom, and some of the tulips budding. So I decided that today would be the day I start the large haul of spring garden cleaning. There was a hyacinth in my vegetable garden and I had no idea how it got there. My brother-in-law stopped by to drop off my key and said that there had been hyacinth and tulips there before, around the fishpond-which-is-now-my-vegetable-garden. Once it dies for the season, I'll move it. I guess I didn't notice it since the veggie garden didn't get planted until the end of May, early June of last year.

The second part of my day involved raking under the willow bushes, and pruning the crap out of the one by the front fence. I actually bagged most of what I chopped off this time, as opposed to leaving it on the ground to kill the grass like I did last year. Tomorrow I'll be cutting down the large branches that got lopped off, then shoved back under the willow and bagging them too.

It's amazing how huge these willows are. I focused on cutting off lower branches so that one day we can put a bench underneath its canopy. Heck, if we had a bench now we could probably manage it. A few wispy branches in the face isn't too bad.

So, giant dead lopped off branches (and a forgotten dead juniper) aside, the yard is shaping up quite nicely. I think last year's clean-up involved about fifteen bags of yard waste, and so far I'm only up to two. I'm thinking maybe two more bagsful and I'll be done. A great improvement over last year.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


For those of you who are following my photojournal on Facebook, our renovations are going well, though have stalled of late.

We have temporarily left the bathroom (much to my husband's chagrin) to focus on our second bedroom. See, back in September or so, our darling Ash the Cat chewed through the aquarium filter hose, and caused over ten gallons of water to leak into the room's carpet. We removed the carpet, sold the entire fish set-up to some hopefully responsible aquarists, and suffered with bare chipboard subfloor ever since.

We always knew we were going to replace the flooring upstairs, since the carpet was at least ten years old if it was a day. Wood of a sort (hardwood or laminate) were the options we had largely considered. I ordered some lovely bamboo hardwood samples from a company in Vancouver. We even went to IKEA recently and purchased laminate flooring.

Unfortunately, the floor in that room is very uneven: there is a huge dip down the middle of the room, about nine feet long, roughly four feet wide, sort of oval shaped. The reason I know it's oval-shaped is because my husband and father-in-law purchased some levelling compound from Home Depot, which, when poured, filled the dip very well.

Unfortunately (again), the levelling compound curled up around the edges when it dried. To boot, it still wasn't level enough to allow the laminate to snap together as it should. We're able to return the two unopened boxes of laminate, but not the two opened boxes with cut pieces, or the underpad foam, or the "flooring tools".

We'd heard about a sale on laminate at Home Depot, so with heavy hearts we went to look, hoping it was better quality than the IKEA crap. What we found, and what Andrew had to sell me on, was parquet flooring. Easy to install, much more flexible than hardwood or laminate, and you can measure your progress quite well since the tiles are each one square foot.

Well, it was quite a bit easier. We still had to beat the tar out of the floor to get rid of the cracked levelling compound (we used the scrap IKEA boards to fill the dip - oh, the irony!), but the floor looks beautiful.

If only we can get started on the shower again...

Oh, shit.

Another spring is upon us, and, oh, shit... it's everywhere. The doggy droppings abandoned by lazy pet owners.

Apparently, there's this unusual property to snow that makes people think that crap magically disappears when it's dropped into its fluffy white goodness. Well, news flash, people: it doesn't disappear.

It sits there.

And waits for some unsuspecting springtime pedestrian to walk in it. Because... *drumroll* ... IT DOESN'T VANISH.


It was almost comical this winter walking along the path plowed through the park and seeing atop a four-foot mound of snow a pile of tiny, tied up plastic bags. The mound of snow ostensibly hides a trash can, so that when the snow melts - TA-DA! - the bags will naturally fall into it.

But alas, that's not how it works. What will really happen is that the snow will melt, and people will find that the snow plow veered a little too far in one direction, and that the garbage can they assumed was beneath the mound of snow is about twelve feet to the left of the now huge pile of bagged dogshit, and then, lo and behold, the dogshit will be on the ground again.

One might assume that I, being a chronic pedestrian and frequest walker of said trail, have actually stepped into a pile of doo. As luck would have it, I have been fortunate to escape this scenario thus far. But I know that the time will come when I'll be running for the bus, and will just see the little dessicated-on-the-outside-but-still-ripe-on-the-inside-pile-of-crap at the last possible moment. I will have a split second to twist my ankle just so I don't get the full-on shit squish, but I will get a wet piece of turd on the side of my boot that just won't go away, no matter how hard I frantically scrub my boot with the remaining slush on the side of the path.

Moral of the story: always make sure you have poo bags when walking your animal. And just take the poo home in the winter. Think of your fellow pedestrians.