Sunday drivers

This week's Sunday drive was pre-empted by Mother Nature's party plans.  A little wind, a little snow and we're pretty much home for a couple days.  I've seen the DOT truck wander by a few times already, however we've no need to sally forth into the slippery unknown.  We therefore decided to go for a Sunday Sashay along the west side of the creek.

Along the creek is what the forest should look like (instead of the clear-cut mess farther up the hill) - it's grown from bare pasture over the last 45 years, and consists mostly of ash and maple, punctuated by a few spruce and fewer pine.  Of course, there's the odd hawthorn to keep us on our toes, but they are few and far between.


Joyful, joyful, joyful, as only dogs know how to be happy...

In preparation for the coming storm, I've decided to put up some stew lest we lose power.  I suppose we can still cook on the stove top, what with the propane and all, but I do worry about not having an exhaust fan.

Whilst prepping the vegetables the dogs, summoned by the telltale snick-snap of the knife on the cutting board, waited eagerly for their tidbits of fresh goodness. Tru was fine with the ends and tops of various plant material, but when I handed him a whole carrot he got rather befuddled.

The Fish Wife

By Cynthia Huntington

He will not see me stopping here, to see his woods fill up with snow.

Nova Scotia is about to get lambasted (I've been waiting to say "lambasted)! 

With words like "near-zero visibility" , "large swath of heavy snow" and "white out conditions" this could get exciting!  We're supposed to get 20-40cm tonight and I know this will provide some smug pleasure to any Saskatchewanians who have been following my blog.

Reckon I oughta bring in some more wood, lest we end up bustin' up and burnin' the furniture in our own private Little House on the Prairie moment.


Happy holidays!

Our booty from the (genuine) French bakery.  And when I say French, I mean these people are from France!  And boy do they know how to bake!  Not sickly sweet but rather just right.




Wow, that apocalypse nearly took my eye out!  I assume that because you're reading my blog that you've made it through the crucible and have come out unscathed - or at least with your internet connection intact.


It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

It's the end of the world as we know it.  We might not blow up or otherwise be terminated, but maybe, just maybe, the world is on the cusp of change for the better.  Once I can gather my thoughts a bit more coherently on the topic, I'd like to say a few things about Newtown.


Ain't no skool learnin' today, y'all.

The following conversation took place this morning.  Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

This blog started primarily so that our families could be brought up to date with the goings-on during construction and settling in. However, it amazes me at how many other people also read it.  I'm sure some of the information contained here-in may be TMI, non-sequitur and nonsensical for some. To those people I apologize!


"The Faustian Bargain"

The longest war: The shooting at a Connecticut school shows, once again, that there’s no end in sight to our lethal way of life

By Walter Shapiro

Sometime between the shootings in Columbine in 1999 and at a Tucson supermarket with Gabby Giffords in early 2011, Americans stopped uttering the pieties about “Never again.” Now we are heartsick, but somehow never completely surprised, when we hear the latest gruesome news bulletins from a movie theater in Aurora or a quiet elementary school in Newtown.


The sun will come out, tomorrow!

Thursday is supposed to be a beautiful sunny day, with a clear evening to enjoy the meteor shower.  It's also going to be a big day at OA!  Hopefully a new arrival will make her way down the driveway... stay tuned!


I am amazed at how calm the days seem to be.  Unlike Saskatchewan, here the wind is so gentle as to be more accurately called a "breeze".  Except for when it storms (and I haven't really seen one yet), the breeze rarely stirs more than the odd tree.

Sunday Drivers

We've decided that Sundays will be devoted to drive-abouts.  We want to get to know our "neighbourhood", and so we've decided to grab Timmy's bevvies and head out to the great blue beyond, a la Warshington-style.


Our house is a very, very, very fine house...

A couple of photos of the living room on Thursday afternoon, avec notre junk.

Waste not,want not...

If the Zombie Apocalypse hits and you find yourself short on whisks, just let us know and we'll find a way to get some out to you.  It seems we also have a lifetime supply of scissors and IKEA allen wrenches, if the need arises and you find yoursef short.


Tumblin' along, with the tumblin' plastic bag...

Quite a windy pre-sunrise morning!  The full moon is still shining and the wind is whipping over the roof and into the meadow.  Laying in bed I was watching the week-old snow roiling in the meadow by moonlight.


Easy like a Sunday mornin'

We awoke this morning to a fine dusting of snow wafting straight down, making the cloudy skies bright.  A bit of a sleep-in was enjoyed by all. The boy has breakfasted and is now happily marinating in the bath tub, where he has been for over two hours.

Let it snow...

A few crummy snaps on this snowy Sunday morning.


A night at the Evergreen...

Kookum and Mooshum invited us for dinner tonight, and we had my new favourite dish - Kookum's mac 'n cheese, made with love! I don't know how she does it, but that is the best mac and cheese I've ever had in my entire life.  With a fresh green salad and her secret dressing, I reveled in the tastiness of it all.


The boys...

Here's a video of the "boys" playing together.

Phew... it's soooooooo hot here!

Sure, it might be cold and crappy in Saskatchewan, but look at what we have to put up with here in Nova Scotia!

Sweet relief!

Yesterday we were finally hooked up to the internet.  I know this comes as a tremendous relief to Laura, who harboured this one final anxiety - to the point that she couldn't sleep on Tuesday night. And when she did finally drift off, her dreams were poisoned by the worry.


When I was a child, we sometimes went to a pre-xmas craft fair called "Wintergreen".  While living back in Regina as an adult, I had the opportunity to go to Wintergreen once again.  Gone were the halcyon days of my childhood whereby I would gaze upon the wonderful collection of handmade trains, trucks, plush bears, genuine homemade sock monkeys, blocks and other assorted delights.  In fact, I was truly disappointed in Wintergreen - so few handmade toys and a lot of very expensive art.


Home again, safe at last!

My tiny family has safely joined the household. They arrived on Sunday and are settling in quite nicely.


A vid of The Lookout.

I think the library has their uploading throttled, as it takes a while for vids to upload. But here is one from when Mom was here.  It's a  late-autumn view from The Lookout, near Blomidon Provincial Park.


It's a beautiful sunny day today, although a bit breezy.  So, I took this opportunity to take a few photos of the house.  The cleaners are in, so there's some debris laying about (and odd shadows!), but you'll get the idea.

I have power, I have heat, I have water who could ask for anything more?

As Orion's ever westward chase fades into another glorious dawn, I stood out and listened to the morning chorus of birds and the faint chatter from the brook below.


Thank doG!

Warning: This is a political post.  I promised myself I wouldn't do this, but my excitement can hardly be contained this glorious morning!

I was almost moved to tears this morning when I heard the news out of the US.

Another term for Obama, three more states to legalize same-sex marriage (Maine, Maryland and FINALLY Washington State).  I can't believe it!

In other news, spent a chilly night up at the house, but things are going well. The dogs and I were snug as bugs in rugs as the temp dipped to -6C last night.  Just before midnight I called Laur to see how the boy was doing (he's got a wicked cold, but otherwise fine) and was delighted to see the stars shining through the window.  After the call, I stood out on the deck for a few minutes and stared in wonder at the glorious Milky Way.  I can't tell you the last time I saw the MW.   Although I can see the lights from a few homesteads twinkling across the valley, the lights from our neighbours are all obscured by the trees - even in fall, when the leaves have dropped.  With the sound of the creek down below, it makes for an incredible sense of solitude.

And, finally, the most important announcement of all - HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY to our beautiful son! 

Photos of the house, coming soon (as soon as I get a connection from which I can upload).


Simple pleasures!

Truman had a bit of an adventure today.  I noticed yesterday that his eye was getting a bit red, so I stopped by the vet. Luckily they fit me in only a half hour later.  Tru Blue had a thorn in his eye! Poor guy!  They kept him, put him under and removed the "plant material" form his right eye.  He was out in two hours. Although he's still a bit groggy as of writing tonight, his eye already looks so much better!


Today's work.

The following photos represent approximately 8 hours of work (for the neophyte woodcutter)!

It was a dark and stormy night...

Well, All Hallows Eve was a rather beautiful night.  It started out rather blustery, with a few periods of downpouring.  However, I was awakened during the night by a light shining on my face.  Much to my surprise, the clouds had cleared and a big bright moon was shining down into the room.  It was about midnight, and I took the opportunity to get up and water the dogs.


Water, water everywhere!

It is raining cats and dogs here today.  I wish I'd brought my Grundens, as my pants are soaked up to my waist from a wee walk down to the not-so-babbling brook!  I think I'll invest in one of their coats, as the quality can't be beat!

The hurricane, continued...

From what I understand, there's been quite a bit of devastation and a few deaths in the US.  How much more can that country handle?


The hurricane...

I'm not up to speed on what happened in the US, but my night last night was hardly remarkable.  A bit of a breeze and a bit of mist, but this morning it is 15 degrees here. I was out having a bird-bath in my t-shirt...


A house is not a home... (yet)

I'm writing from Timmy's with free wi-fi and battery power, so this will be a brief post.  I'll post photos and some thoughts once we get some power and our own connection!


Oromocto ho!

So, here we are in New Brunswick. It is such a relief to be out of the US - Canada is home and I know that if anything were to go wrong, we'd be taken care of. All of the people we met on our travels have been very nice, but it's always nicer to be home.


Has it really come to this?

It is 3:30 am, and I am lying (laying? in a recumbent position) in a dry bathtub, with my computer, a bottle of orange Fanta, listening to my snoring mother.



We ride at dawn!

Alright... the truck isn't packed, the people aren't packed and the appropriate documents have not yet been drawn up.


Saying goodbye...

Tonight my sister organized a wee "going away/family/birthday" supper for us.  It was so nice to see family and friends all sitting around the table together.  Conversing in small groups, talking football, telling stories, laughing and sharing a meal was a very special opportunity to connect with the people who have loved me my whole life.


Psst... hey! We only live two miles away!

Canada's Most Beautiful Cottage Retreats

With the arrival of summer’s heat and humidity comes the great Canadian pastime - escaping to the cottage. Be spoilt for choice with these 10 gorgeous Canadian cottage country destinations.


Our orphaned little fridge...

Our fridge arrived in NS today.  The GC checked it over to make sure it was all good, signed for it and will store it at their warehouse.


A busy week has been planned.

Laura got an email from our GC this morning, indicating that the flooring will be delivered today and installed next week, along with the trim, kitchen and deck.  They are also going to finish the siding after the deck is up.  All of this means that the painting has been completed.


Season's first snow...

The weather report indicated we might get flurries last evening, and this morning we woke to a light dusting of snow.  No accumulation to really speak of, but exciting nonetheless.  Exciting that is, if you are a missing-one-tooth, four-almost-five year old.

The rest of us are just plain depressed.


Early birthday prezzies for me!

Earlier in the week I had forwarded a list of possible birthday presents to Laur, in case anyone asked for ideas.  Her reply was simple - "These are all work tools, honey".   Apparently I'm not supposed to ask for anything practical for my birthday...

The furnace...

The furnace has been on for a few days here on the prairie.  For contrast, I've been keeping a close eye on the weather in the valley.  While both locations are undoubtedly cooling off, especially after the high temps here in late September, it's obvious that the valley's temperatures are much less extreme.


Siding and getting ready for paint!

I love the days that we get update photos! It's a bit like Christmas - unwrapping and closely examining each picture, drinking in the changes.  With each update, it becomes easier to imagine myself standing right there.


A shout-out to MGSR!

Here's a shout-out to Manitoba German Shepherd Rescue - this is where Truman came from.

Fill 'er up!

Well, it's finally time to start daydreaming about furnishings and drapes.


A tremendous weight has been lifted...

At about 1pm this afternoon, the purchaser of the house dropped by with a document stating that the conditions of the sale had been lifted.


Simply reading this article makes me happy.

Teenage Nova Scotians and Quebecers are the happiest Canadians while older Ontarians less so

Little NS house on the prairie...

We received and accepted an offer on the house last Monday.  The conditions are straightforward, contingent on financing and inspection.   The home inspector came on Wednesday and the prospective buyers seemed happy with the results. Although the inspector did mention one thing to me - that we needed a gas line locate, and that because it appeared that the gas line went under the garage (it does), this might pose a bit of a problem.


I had a dream last night...

Yesterday CBF got out, and went for a wee walk about the neighbourhood. Luckily he came back.  I then had a terrible dream that someone had deliberately hurt him.


Earth vs. Garth

As you can see, the fireplace is starting to come together.  This has resulted in a bit of a debate at our house.  Living with a former Arkansan, some discussions come screeching to a halt when one of us utters an unfamiliar word.


It ain't pretty...

... but think of how much rain water we'll collect!  It would be lovely to have a 250 gallon cistern in which to hold rain/snow water. I should like it to be raised high enough to water lower side yard as well as to the upper yards. 


Hockey season, football season, learning season.
New clothes, new classes, warm days, cool evenings.


ZOMGWTFBBQ!! They sell BEEP in Nova Scotia!!!!

Sweet, low-swingin', sandal-wearin', sandwich-eatin' mother of Jeebuz on a crutch!


Our fireplace, and a word from our sponsors...

Oh, and here's some photos of our new fireplace. To give you a bit of an idea of scale, the hearth will be approximately 5' wide when finished, and the mantle will sit 6-ish feet off the floor.  Hard to judge scale from the size of the living room, eh?  Having the mantle 6' off the floor is great for scale, given that the ceiling is so high!


Our fantastic friends, Mooshum and Kookum!

Our friends, Laura and Gerard, have become honorary Grandma and Grandpa.  In an effort to avoid "my Laura" and "our friend Laura" they've decided that Kookum (Grandma in Cree) and Mooshum (Grandpa, also in Cree) will do just fine!

The autumn leaves drift by my window...

The sad songs of fleeting geese have entered our fall repertoire.  Warm days and the last of summer's lazy breezes play with our hair as we take a break from working on the house.  The evenings have also once again become cool, anticipating winter's eventual, inevitable arrival.


A sad day for Dumpster...

Sadly, the City has decided that shared back-alley dumpsters are obsolete.  We have been issued a "residential rolling waste cart".  For all intents and purposes, this means that dumpster divers can now tear open our garbage bags in the cart instead of a giant dumpster.


Boy's room.

We've been tossing around the idea of a loft bed for the boy's room.  The footprint is almost exactly the same size as his current room.  We'd dismissed the idea on previous occasions because of his tender age.

Commenting made easy (hopefully)!

So... there seems to still be some problems with commenting. I've made a few illustrations to help people along.  A brief tutorial on commenting.


Laura and Gerard's amazing, delicious, beautiful, bountiful, earthly victuals!

Photos of our friend's amazing farm, a mere 5 miles (as the crow flies) from us!

Friday photos

Laura's last day at the house...  she took a few photos of stuff around the property.



I had a brief conversation with Laura this morning. She had the opportunity to visit with the school principal...

Morning update.

Photos from around the property.

Commenting on the blog...

I have received some feedback that people are having difficulty commenting on the blog. It seems that that verification process (whereby you type in the distorted letters to verify you are a human being) is not working properly.

I will disable this feature, as I vet the comments before publication anyways...

If you have tried to leave a comment before, and have had difficulty, please try again.

Regina vs the Valley

I put together this little table to outline the temperature differences between our place in Regina and Occidental Acres.

April vs August

Apparently it doesn't take long for Nature to reclaim her own in Nova Scotia.  The August images were taken by Laura today.   If you click on the images, they will expand.

The logging road.

Looking out over the meadow. Our house now stands where the bare twigs obscure the right foreground of the April image.

Logging road, south side of bridge.
Stitched panorama, house to road.  It's a bit closer than what we wanted, but we had to weigh the cost.  Nothing that a few fast-growing, Nova Scotia trees can't fix!  Oh, and apparently we have a large apple tree just out the basement door! I hope Laura brings some of "our" apples home with her!

And some photos from the inside.

The boy's room - looks small, but is almost the exact same size as his current room.  Laur stated that the window is "huge" and dwarfs the rest of the room.  Perhaps it is a good thing to have a lot of light, as it faces due north.

Looking through the "public/boy" bathroom, into our bathroom and through to the master closet.  The baths are small, but it's not like you're spending a lot of time in there!

Standing in the "hall" pocket door, looking south-west through the living room into dining.  The late afternoon, late-summer sun falls into the dining room. Because of the angle of the sun, these rooms will be very brightly lit in the winter.  This also happens to be the path we will follow on our way to breakfast every morning!

Don't fall!  Entering via the kitchen door, the stairs to the basement are directly in front.  The black thing in the middle of the picture is the roughed-in shower drain, for a downstairs bath to be installed at a later date.  On the other side of the wall to the right is the kitchen.


Live from Nova Scotia...

So, Laur is in NS for a few days to finalize some house stuff.  According to her latest IM, she's had a productive morning. The kitchen close to being finalized - with off white custom cabinets and cork flooring. She just needs to need to pick a counter and pulls.

Whilst finalizing the kitchen, she met the cabinet maker who was puzzled by our choice of wine rack, but had some recommendations.  He apparently also really likes the addition of the small bar (to hide the sink faucets) which functions as a sort of built-in buffet.

The rest of the house will have laminate. This is a cost effective compromise as we would like hardwood but really want a sense of the light throughout the seasons before we pick something more permanent.

She's selected the wall colours and is meeting the GC, job site foreman and electrician this afternoon.  

She says some of the weeds on the logging road are taller than her, and that there is one down by the creek which is surely 10' tall!   Apparently it smells amazing - she loves the smell of the trees - and everything is green and lush, aside from some of the trees which already have a reddish hue.

It's a lovely, breezy sunny day there and she sounds altogether excited.  It's nice to hear her so happy.  When I asked her if it's a place where we will be happy, she replied confidently, "I KNOW we'll be happy here!"

Stay tuned for some photos and perhaps a video.

In the mean time, here's a snap of my dog.  :D

Laura thinks it's hideous, but I rather like this chair.  I'm not sure what it's about for the dogs, but until Aida's knees went, it was her favourite place to snooze.


Things I will miss, the Third Act.

- The Amazing Regina Public Library (with province-wide catalogue,  holding items reserved online at the branch of your choice and a willingness to find and/or purchase any item not in the collection).
- our fantastic vet
- Houston Pizza
- fields of summer flax



We're making some decent progress on the Regina house... we just might be mostly ready for Sunday!

Interior framing, continued..

Doorway, centre right, will be a pocket door to separate the bath, boy's room and entrance to our room from the public space.

The pocket door, "hall" and doors to main bath, our room and the boy's room.

"Hm, I wonder who is coming down the drive," I thought as I peered out the dining room window.  "Oh, it's our good friend P.A. Potty!"
First two banks of living room windows. And, of course, the meadow/pasture.
The master bedroom door and window.  The view from the road is largely obstructed by trees, but you can see the power lines because of their height.  I like that we can see someone coming up the drive from our room - or at the very least will see lights sweeping around the bend.  There will be two 11' x 11' decks and pergolas (off the master and dining room). These two decks will be joined in front of the living room by a 4' walkway.

The interior framing has begun...

The wall for the master bedroom is up.

Dining room on the right, living room to the left.

From the dining room into the kitchen, with stairs leading down (on the other side of the leaning plywood).


An Occidental Acres exclusive!

This just in from our foreign correspondents embedded with the troops in the middle of the front-line action! The house wrap is on and the windows and doors are in.

Who is that handsome devil? Laur named this photo "Gerard Regard" - clever, n'est-ce pas?

Laur has suggested putting some solar twinkly lights on one of the evergreens along the meadow. I think it's a grand idea!


The new guy...

We interrupt this regularly scheduled house blog to bring you the latest dog-guy photos.

Ehr mah gerd! I lurve this therng!

I know it's not fair to compare Tru to Pete, but they just look so similar.


Ideas for some finishing touches.

The architectural rendering.  Take a look inside, but keep in mind the following - our floor plan has been reversed; there are two doors in the living room, whereas we've eliminated the left-had door, and made a hallway with a sliding French door to access the bedrooms; ours has a fireplace centred in the living room instead of a television; and we have a U-shaped kitchen, rather than the island in the illustration.
I like the openness of this hand/guard rail.  This is what I will put together for our deck.  I prefer the hog panel for a few reasons - it's economical, it will not visually interfere with our view of the meadow and by gum I just plain think it looks cool.

Another example of the "hog panel" rail.

Our kitchen cabinets will be similar to this - antique white, shaker style with the faux bar.
The super ugly, yet visually representational kitchen rendering.  What is not shown here is the sink, which will be on the right side of the illustration.
Instead of having a "pigeon hole" type wine rack on the corner of the cabinets, we've asked for something like this. It holds the bottles quite nicely, but eliminates the need for dusting individual cubby-holes ('cuz the dust just falls right through!).  Until we asked for this type of wine rack, neither of use realized that we were getting custom cabinets.  Like from a guy.  Who makes them. In his shop.  In Annapolis County.  Not pre-assembled.  In China.  I'm so happy!

Typical U-shaped kitchen, complete with ugly computer appliances!  The faucet and sink are barely visible bottom left.

As small as this kitchen is, it will have twice the storage space of our current one!
Because we needed a bit more space in the kitchen (in which to fit the range), we decided to add a pony wall.  This served a couple purposes - allowed us to put the range at the bottom of the "U", and widened the walkway between the two counter tops.  We will have our book cases nestled into this bump out, so it will likely be unnoticeable.

We have a roof...

Monday morning update.

Welcome to our port-a-potty! Er...let me fix that...
Welcome to our home!  Main entrance and kitchen garden will be on the left, behind the red truck.   A large deck with two pergolas will also welcome guests at the front.  Under the pergolas will be the dining room door and the master bedroom door.  I think that's the plumber walking around on the phone.

A kitchen/dining room window on the left by the ladder, and the dining room door left-middle by the propped board.

The living room ceiling.  There will be a wall dividing the master from the living room - it will run from the guy on the ladder to the left.  This same wall will have the living room fire place centred upon it. Lots of light for our room and the living/dining/kitchen.

The rear portion of the house.  This view cuts through the boy's room (with window), the two bathrooms, hallway and the master closet.  I like how there isn't a main load bearing wall...  if for some reason we ever had to do renos, makes it super easy!

The view of the meadow from the living room. This is the shot I've been waiting for!  Too bad the scaffolding is in the way!  This would be the view if you were standing with your back to the bookcases.

Ah yes, the beloved meadow!  This is what we'll see when we're sitting on the sofa in front of the fire!