Friday, October 13, 2023
Monday, October 9, 2023
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
The final frontier in home improvements here at Five Acres was to raise the well pump above ground. It's not a project you want to tackle until you have money to burn, because there's no way of predicting what it's going to cost until the job is, basically, completed. It's also surprisingly difficult to find a well company to do the work according to government regulations. It was a piece of luck that brought me to Art. One day in the library I was talking to a former colleague. She also lives on a farm property. I mentioned my well and the fact that I was looking for a reliable well company to raise the well pump. She mentioned a female police officer who occasionally drops by the library, and said that the officer's husband had taken over his family's well company. "Talk to Art", she said. "You'll get the straight goods from Art." So I called Art, and he came over. I instantly liked him and felt confident that I wasn't going to be another woman being talked down to by a man. After all, his wife wears a firearm! It took several months until Art's schedule and my finances lined up, but that day came last Wednesday. A section of the metal roof on the well shed had to be removed temporarily to get the old well pump out of there: it was eight or nine feet below ground level. It took a whole day for Art and his Dad to get the old well pump up. Once the pump was above ground, there was good news and bad news: first, it was steel, so it hadn't rusted. That was fairly essential to getting it out of the well. But it was covered in sulphur, and underneath all that sulphur was a 30 year old pump that could fail at any minute. The warranty on a new well pump is three years, so my old pump was living on borrowed time. Further, the underground cable that connects the well pump to the electrical panel in the house had been mended twice, so it made good sense to replace the cable at the same time.
Saturday, September 9, 2023
One thing that never shows up on real estate photos or videos of my property is the gigantic array of solar panels to heat the swimming pool. No need to explain why. When you see the picture, you'll understand. "Derelict" is the most diplomatic adjective I can think of. Luckily, it's hidden behind a stand of Brandon cedars - a favourite tree of mine - so I don't have to look at it unless I'm feeling self-destructive. That doesn't happen often, which explains why it's still there, four and a half years after I moved here. Two years ago, I was persuaded by the staff of the local pool company that for an investment of a few hundred dollars I could have it restored. That was my first mistake. One of my biggest character flaws is, and always has been, that I believe if I just try long enough and hard enough, I can get anything to work. This belief explains my first motorbike, my first husband, my Camaro, my Cadillac Seville, several chainsaws, and recently, my tractor. I have a nephew who also has this belief. In his case, he actually can get things to work. With me, the odds are about one in four. I should invite him over more often, eh? But I digress.
Saturday, July 29, 2023
Last week, my nephew Benjamin was visiting. Ben is eight. He's stayed here several times before, and by now he pretty much runs the place. But he hadn't been here since last November, and there have been a lot of changes since his last visit, so one evening he and I were strolling around outside. I was pointing out the changes to the property. We stopped by the boathouse. I showed him the bird's nest positioned in the eaves, just above the boathouse door. I'd been watching the nest for some weeks. I couldn't see inside without disturbing it, but I had the impression it was empty, as it had that dried-out appearance. Ben and I decided to lift it down from the eaves, using a wide blade paint scraper and a hand-held broom to secure it. As we detached it and lowered it to the ground, the nest started to fall apart. Inside were four very newly hatched birds. We put the nest on the patio and while Ben guarded it, I ran back up to the garden shed and brought down two empty bowl-shaped plastic flower pots. I nailed the first one to the doorframe, at eye level. Then we swept up the broken nest and all four hatchlings, put them in the other flowerpot and set it inside the one attached to the doorframe. I had little hope they'd survive the night, being so small, and I felt guilty for disrupting the nest.
Friday, June 30, 2023
At three a.m., I was grumpily half awake, thanks to an intermittent knocking sound coming from the front of the house. I was pretty sure it wasn't the police, and I wasn't alert enough to contemplate who else might be at my door, For an hour, I ignored it. By four a.m., I thought I'd better get up and investigate, since I clearly wasn't going to be able to fall asleep again. I had a memory of a similar night, a year or two ago, when just before bedtime I'd heard what sounded like a motor running just outside my front door. So I had a sense of what I'd be confronted with. First, I knocked hard on the doorframe, wondering if that would startle any unwelcome nocturnal guest. No dice. Then I turned on the porch light. The knocking sound stopped, briefly, and then resumed. I opened the door an inch or two, with my foot poised to prevent it being pushed open any farther. Peering through the gap in the door, I spied an intruder. It was the same sort of intruder I remembered from my previous encounter, and it appeared to be chewing its way into my house. "Hey!" I shouted. No reaction. So I closed the door, went to the kitchen for a saucepan, filled it with cold water, returned to the front door and poured the water over the porcupine. That succeeded in making it back up, try and squeeze itself through the iron porch railing and climb down onto the garden that borders the entrance to the house. It deposited a few dozen quills as a parting gift. It will take me quite a bit of sanding, priming and painting to repair the scene of the crime. People tell me they're actually looking for salt. This is one of the reasons I don't salt the porch or driveway in winter. Personally I think it had heard breakfasts are pretty good here at Five Acres and it didn't want to be late to the party.