Wednesday 26 February 2014

Lessons on propane

Do you know that propane is a liquid and that the fuel is the vapour from that liquid?  I've learned a great deal about propane in the last few days...

On the weekend we decided we should gently move the snow away from the propane storage tank.  I was told when I set up the account to check the guage and that when it said 30% to call for a fill.  Since the tank was filled in late fall and I was informed that the tank normally lasted the seller a good part of the year, I had no concerns.

I found the gauge.  It read 15% and I began to worry.  Hubby too checked the tank and said he smelled gas.  So, I called.  Within a few hours someone was there.  Yes, it's leaking.  The leak is considered insignificant in terms of amount lost but important enough that it needs to be fixed.  He couldn't fix it.  He did however assure me that the amount of fuel in the tank was more than enough to see me through the 7 business days until they could re-fill.  But, since he couldn't fix it and it likely has been leaking for a very long time, we needed a new tank. 

Now, the tank belongs to the company and we just rent it.  So, the company decided to replace their tank.  They'd be there first thing tomorrow morning, I was told, and they were there - by late morning.  Two more fellows arrived with a new tank, but first they were going to try to fix the leaking tank.  They couldn't fix it.  They tried to lift the tank out with their boom truck.  It was frozen solid from December's ice storm.  Then they went away.

A few hours later another fellow arrived.  Curtis was service man #4, and I said I felt like they were taking really good care of me.  He was there to start the fire.  He set up a burner in the driveway and began to burn off the fuel that remained in the damaged tank.  I would - of course - get a credit for that 12% that remained in the tank and was now lighting up the yard as if it were a Christmas story.

Then the other two fellows returned.  They had three smaller, upright tanks.  They dug in the snow, right down to the ground next to the frozen tank and set up the smaller temporary tanks.  Each tank contained about 10%.  Keep in mind that a fill is 80%.  Now I had 30% whereas before I had 15% which had gone down to 12%.  Mathematically I was feeling more positive, which will amuse many readers who know that mathematics is not one of MY assets.

The bonfire went on until almost eleven and Curtis stayed to see it through.  I made him a tea.  We chatted.  He went out again.  It felt like a long night.  Before he left Curtis said the old tank will just stink.  When we see it is free of the ice, we are to call for its removal and they'll bring the new tank.  The new tank will be green - and it will match the shutters on the house.

No sign of a fill today but I'm okay.  The temperature outside has dipped again but I'm good inside.  I'm liking the propane cook stove a lot too.  I've learned so much about propane...

Sunday 23 February 2014

Bunny Convention

I knew the dog had found his bliss when I Iooked out the back door this morning and he was curled up there in the sunshine.  He is having a blast.  He really has been sticking around but a few days ago I saw him coming back from down the road.  I was not happy about that.  This morning I walked around the deck in my housecoat calling him and managed to lock myself out.  Oops!  Dog was returning from the barn where there's a rodent or rabbit under the woodpile that's got a lot of his attention lately.

I was curious about all of the tracks I could see behind the little pond just behind the house.  So, I started my snowshoe trip there.  I observed that there were many many bunny tracks there.  Not only is there a den under the rotten picnic table at the gate behind the barn, but the tracks lead to more dens on the other side of the pine copse.  And then - I was shocked because they are so organized - a single tree is surrounded by tracks that encircle it to a distance of about 3 feet out from the trunk.  They must hold some kind of ritual bunny dances there or a bunny convention.

I have found someone local to take Beau dog overnight when the need arises.  Once the moving activities are completed we do not foresee any such need.  For now, however, it is best for him.  The car drive is not his favourite.  He is better than he used to be, but he spends the whole hour plus panting like mad - and it has been rather cold so I don't think he's hot from the weather, just stressed.

I have managed to find a small flock of sheep that suits me.  As well, someone else has two llamas they are willing to part with.  So, this next week I am expecting hay and straw to arrive and the following week or so the sheep and llamas will arrive.

In the meantime, my sister was here on the weekend and helped me begin to shovel out gates that need to be closed when animals arrive.  The weather was weird with a thaw and rain and now cold again.  So, there is less snow and the bright daytime sun is melting things.  The snow shovelling and moving of firewood became today's workout.

We also snowshoed on the weekend, all three of us, plus dog.  We went way back behind the cabin right to the field back there.  I am going to investigate having someone work that field, perhaps put in hay.  The land throughout is very variable and quite interesting.

Monday 17 February 2014

Soap and Water Miracles

Oh, I discovered blog formatting...  It's much more pleasant to view...

The other night I baked cookies on my new propane gas stove.  It's a very fancy stove.  I mixed the batter and went to preheat the oven and realised I didn't know how.  Oops.  So, I guessed a bit and found the manual....  It was all fine.  Things seem to take a bit longer to cook.  There is a convection setting and it's great.  In addition, it has been so cold and the back of the house where the kitchen and dining area are located are cold; baking warms us up.  I've gotten over my fear of the gas stove - I think.  It's really my mother's fear of a gas stove....

So, dog's itchiness is due to dry skin but also fleas.  Previous residents included a dog and a cat.  My experience is that whenever there has been a cat there are fleas.  So, I researched and went shopping.  Dog is now taking antihistamines to relieve his itchiness and allow us some sleep.  I continue to add things to his food to moisten his skin.  He had a lovely bath / shower.  He jumped out THREE times and each time - with a little prompt -  jumped right back into the tub.  Even with the cold he had to run around in circles in the driveway after his tub.  His hair was soft and lovely afterwards.  And I vacuumed and sprayed each room until I ran out of spray.  D.R. noted that ALL bugs were dying everywhere and proceeded to follow me around and vacuum up corpses.

The flea intervention interrupted my cleaning.  The miracles I have seen as a result of the application of soap and water have been, well, MIRACULOUS.  My expletives change to expressions of "Oh My God" and gratitude for such wonders.  I have washed doors, walls, floors, window frames; and glass, wood, drywall and ceramic.  On the surface things look good and then you really look and kind of cringe at the grunge below.  Oh, the miracles I have seen!

The sun shone beautifully today, the calm before the snowy storm set to begin overnight.  And it was cold, very cold, but got warmer as the day progressed.  The garage door took about twenty tries to get it to close today.  That's on the list of things to be serviced.  Note in the photo below that one end of the building is garage while the other is a barn with box stalls and a chicken pen.

At any rate, dog bugged me to get outside in the sun and so I did.  I grabbed my snowshoes and we headed back to the cabin. 

Looking southward


Up behind the barn and the short copse of trees we looked right / south and saw in the distance a chunk of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere.
Pond - one of many  
The way to the cabin...


A little closer to us - that's me and the dog who is us - is a large pond.  There are many ponds and wet lands we have yet to discover.

Tallyho, then, off to the cabin.  This way...

"The Cabin"

So, here is "The Cabin".  There's a two-seater nearby too!  And a little deck and two picnic tables plus a big fire pit.

 Beyond the cabin is a trail I hadn't been down and along there we met a couple who were snow shoeing towards us.  Turns out they are from the next side road and didn't know where they were.  They thought they'd go on forever and not see a soul.  My retort was that sometimes forever isn't very far.  We chatted.  They played with the dog and then walked back up behind the barn with me.  From there they retraced their steps.

As you can see, I took some more photos today.  Mom and the Mermaid asked for more.  Here's one more.


Tuesday 11 February 2014

Meeting the neighbours

It's been a busy day.

The furnace folks were here before 8 and replaced the motor on the furnace.  It's much quieter now and should see us through a few more years while we decide what to do regarding heating.  The fellow is really looking forward to more business from us - which he will get - and charged a low amount.  He's been here three times in a week and has not always had good news to share.

I washed doors, a total of 3 today.  It is a process, I keep telling myself.  Stay focused on THE door...

After lunch I headed out with a small list.  I stopped at the neighbour's, recommended to me by the seller as a connection to acquire some sheep.  We had a brief chat on the porch in the very cold day that was today.  She's not sure they want to part with ten sheep.  I said to think on it.  I was introduced to the Great Pyrenees who, after warming up, came looking for lots of pets.  The neighbour shared that there are many coyotes, that they have heard 6 or 8 at night recently, down my way.

Next stop was to drop off the phone bill payment, then to the feed store down the street.  I checked it out; what a HUGE selection.  As it turns out I was able to order ready to lay hens from the big place and they will be delivered to this small feed store.  I was the first person to place an order.  They will arrive about March 19th.  Keep them shut in at night, he advised.  In addition he advised that the folks with whom I have connected for sheep and hay will take good care of me.

Final stop in the village was the post office.  Then off home by a different route.

Upon return dog and I headed out for a snowshoe.  He as most insistent.  I was curious about some tracks I could see.  They were canine and from there I could see snowmobile tracks so we investigated those.  Then we moved through some brush and found another path, and more snowmobile tracks.  Then we headed back to the house.  Oh, and then I walked around the deck and took photos.

Birch to south-west

Facing west down the drive from front door

Front door

Facing south-east

Facing north east to barn

Sunday 9 February 2014

The sun was spectacular this morning, shining off of the bright clean-white snow.  I observed this from the breakfast table.  It was just lovely.  Dog went in and out and stayed out several times, sitting and looking off the deck; or sometimes sitting in the lane looking toward the door hoping someone would come out and play with him. 

Beau-dog has been very itchy which I have chocked up to dry skin from the new world of woodstove heat.  A closer look this morning while brushing him and he has irritation on his chest.  He is losing hair in chunks, mostly from his haunches; it's almost easier to pick it up than to vacuum.  I have to add more oil to his food to clear up the dryness and dandruff.

Late morning Beau and I headed out to trek along the fence line.  I donned snowshoes.  The goal was to see what repairs may be needed before acquiring livestock and putting them in this area.  There are a few spots that need repair but these are close to the house in the barnyard area.  In other spots, the fence is curled over along the top row of the page wire, as horses do when they reach over the top to get at morsels on the other side.  This should be okay for sheep but we can fix it up later. 

I noticed burdock bushes along the way.  These and sheep or Beau are not a good combination.  As I can get around more when the snow is melting I'll gather them up and burn them.    The other item of interest were the canine tracks.  I assume these belonged to a coyote as they entered at the road in a straight line as if he'd come across the field on the other side.  He travelled pretty well straight across and then over the fence again. 

It's becoming overcast now in the early afternoon and there is a very light snow falling.  The fire in the woodstove is roaring.  Laundry is almost done.  D.R. is working on his computer.  Beau is sleeping at my feet before the fire.  All is well in our world.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Just Do It

Okay, I wrote a heading but no text...

I have been surprised as I did not expect to hear people say they are "jealous", "envious" of what we are doing.  And then someone said, you are "doing it".  Then I understood.  We are doing what everyone talks about doing.  We talked about it, then decided to just do it.  It's not all about Nike.  It's about making a decision, doing some planning and following through.

We are thrilled.  Although D.R. continues working, it's only for a few more weeks.  He has his part time work in Brockville and there look to be full time opportunities appearing for him in Kingston. 

I'm looking too.  But still; we're doing it.

Catching up

Okay, so we're here!  It's real, we're here!  This is our first weekend together at The Farm.

Last weekend, Doug and Michelle graciously offered their truck to haul a uhaul trailer.  Doug was great, very experienced packing a trailer.  When we had loaded all I had planned to take, we filled up the remaining space with additional things I had packed in preparation for showing the house, along with some dojo stuff.  There was snow in the forecast but it was all fine.  Dmytry came to help and was very thankful for my preparations.  We finished loading in roughly an hour.

At The Farm, Lisa arrived.  How absolutely wonderful that she drove all that way to help with the work and the celebration!  Unfortunatly, - depending on your perspecitve - D.R. was off on exercise.  When Doug and Michelle and the boys arrived, together we were about an hour unloading.  Doug and Lisa unloaded the trailer and Michelle and the boys and I took things at the door and put them in their place - well, sort of.  We were about an hour unloading. 

Then, Lisa had a snooze while the rest of us went snowshoeing.  We went back to the cabin.  Doug was thrilled with the wood burning cookstove, saying he'd put it in the house.  We returned via the barn and had a little tour there.  Oh, and the boys played with Beau and all had lots of fun.

At the house there was chili and banana fruit loaf, and coffee and wine...  Our tummies were filled and soothed and the woodstove crackled away. 

Doug and Michelle headed back to the City.  I am so thankful for their help and enthusiasm. 

Lisa and I enjoyed chatting, sharing more wine and cleaning. 

The next morning, Lisa and I went snowshoeing, walking the entire property route, back, across and up the other side of the geographical features down the centre of the property.  We were tuckered as was dog.  I had a spill due to Beau's standing on my snowshoes.  He bounced.  He jumped / hopped as if he were a rabbit.  I had to stop and just laugh I was so amused by this behaviour.  He got very tired.  We all did.  The temperature had increased, causing the snow to be heavier and harder to navigate.  It was a great workout.

So, now, we are a week later.  D.R. and I are discussing where to place furniture, ideas about this and that.  We read the junk mail and went in to Brockville to purchase a new gun cabinet that was son sale.  Oh, and we went to Mallorytown.  D.R. had checked out the grocery store the night before when he went to get beer.  He gave me the tour.  There is a deli and butcher counter.  Actually I think there was greater selection of many things compare to the No Frills at which I had shopped at Gananoque the day before.

We now also have internet.  This required a trip into Lansdowne.  The service was incredible and the internet was available immediately.  The gal said I had to come back and pick up things and if I didn't get back by closing they'd leave it in a bag on the back door. 

Loving this, we are!