Monday, August 29, 2011

Introducing Tesla

Strange, how life works.  Driving to work last Wednesday morning, I came across a large dog running along the side of the road.  Obviously, he'd been dumped out by his owner, and he was literally running scared.  I stopped my car beside him, but he gave me a glare, and stood there stiff-legged and stiff-tailed, so I didn't dare approach him.  I got out of my car and knelt down in the hopes he would come towards me, but he just circled me from afar.  It was clear I wasn't going to make any head-ways with him.

We watched each other for a few moments until I drove off, worrying about his eventual fate.  Had he been friendly and up for a ride, I'd have had no problem picking him up and taking him to our local no-kill shelter. Alas, there was no way I would nor could coax an unwilling 80+ pound dog into my car.

Visions of the dog, scared and running, stayed with me all day at work.  Pet abandonment is a huge problem in Quebec, more so that other places, because of a lack of legislation and enforcement.  To add to the tribulations,  backyard breeders and puppy mills are prolific here.  I could launch into a political diatribe about what needs to be done, but it would fall onto deaf ears in this province anyhow.

That evening, Eric needed to go out and make a last-minute purchase before the stores closed.  I decided to tag along for the ride, and as we were driving home along a long stretch of corn fields, our headlights caught the eyes of what we assumed would be a raccoon.  As we drove slowly by, those little eyes were framed by a pair of cat's ears, and Eric and I looked at each other with cocked heads and raised eyebrows.  It was either pick him up or let him become coyote fodder.  It's not hard to figure out how things turned out.

Well, it looks like we have a new cat:

We think Tesla is about 5 months old.  Someone had cut most of his whiskers off and trimmed all of his claws to the quick - he also sports a nice abrasion on his upper lip and lower jaw, and the canine on the same side is broken off, so he might have had a touch of heavy-metal syndrome (read:  run-in with a car, or maybe his former owners didn't have the common decency of stopping the car while they threw him out.)  His spine and ribs were very evident, and he was obviously hungry by the amount of food and water he consumed.  He spent his first night in the kitchen, segregated from the others while I monitored him.  I gave him a flea treatment, like my vet said I should do with any stray we should come across and bring into the home.  He's a mellow little guy, terrified of loud voices, but the kind of cat you can do pretty much anything with.  I've started brushing him regularly, and it's surprising the amount of cuts and abrasions he had.  Who knows how long he'd been fending for himself.

The little dude is adapting quickly.  Cooper's not too sure what to think, and Tesla's stranded poor Cooper upstairs on more than one occasion by deciding to sleep on the stairs.  Cooper's too afraid to go by, but from watching Tesla's reaction, he's more afraid of Cooper than Cooper is of him.  Poor Cooper.  Down another notch on the totem pole again.

The other morning, BobCat even gave Tesla the same chirp he used to give Popina when he was up to playing with her.  That's a good sign.

So Tesla is living proof that nature abhors a vacuum.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Batten Down the Hatches

...'cause Irene's on her way:
To be fair, Irene's just a tropical depression now, no longer a category 1 hurricane, so let's skip the melodrama that's pervasive in all of the newscasts.  Our farm is located within the first circle.  We've already got some impressive easterly winds this morning, but nothing we haven't experienced before.

Over the next 24 hours, we're supposed to get up to 80 mm of rain, that's a little over 3", and experience winds gusting up to 90 km/h, which is about 55 mph.

According to the radar loop, the storm is heading due north, so we're going to see the rain start mid-morning or so.

Don't know about you, but I'm happy it's rain and not snow!

 ...and here we are a few hours later.  It has been pouring all day long - thankfully our ground is quite dry, and we haven't heard the sump-pump outside turn on once yet.  For sure it will later, though.  The wind's been steady throughout the day, and not as gusty as I had expected.  The power flickers a bit, but everything's still up and running.

We'll see how things progress as the evening wears on.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Some Sad News

We don't know what happened to Popina - she disappeared without a trace while I was on vacation.  Sick to my stomach, I am.  Cried myself to sleep for a week.  If Cooper is my right arm, Popina was my left.  I can't describe just how much of a void she left.

Today, on what would have been her second birthday, I'm officially giving up hope.

Godspeed my little Poppet.  'Til we meet again.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Pine Floor - Part Deux

The paint is finally done in Eric's office.  We ended up hybridizing a Benjamin Moore colour called Versailles:

The wonderful Lea at Centre Decor Hudson is a paint PRO.  I've heard of Lea through the community grape-vine, but we've never patronized her paint shop until now.  Wow, were we impressed!  She's a real artisan and managed to capture Eric's wish perfectly.  We both love the result.  Lea managed to balance the strength of blue and purple so that neither colour was dominant.  What's unfortunate is my inability to capture the colour properly with my camera!  It's far too blue in the photos further below, but it's all I've got!
Hark!  What do we have here?  We're about to find out!  And once again, this photo drives home the point WHY we're repainting the floor instead of leaving it au naturel.  There are so many holes, dents, scratches, pings, patches, etc., that natural beauty is obscured by years of abuse.
Oh well.  Gee.  A nice groove cut into the floor.  For what, we've no clue.  Maybe electrical wiring?  Maybe some sort of prehistoric plumbing attempt?  In our house, from our experience, anything is possible.  We've seen it all.  Eric is going to clean it out, countersink the nails that broke off, sand it to the level of the rest of the floor, fill everything in with epoxy (Eric's specialty), and once it's painted white, you'll never know it was there.

Note the red lid beside the small crowbar and broom in the photo below.  We have no clue what was here once, perhaps a toilet, but it's yet another hole that needs to be repaired.  Eric is going to make a plug out of wood for this, and ordered a 1/2" rabbet set from Lee Valley, so I'll be sure to post how he goes about fixing this.
When I removed the shellac in the guest room last January, I used a heat gun because the shellac had a nasty habit of splintering.  It was easy enough to get a 1" spackling knife underneath the thick coat of shellac, but unless it was softened by the heat gun, it would splinter into hundreds of shards.  Here we are in August, and maybe our hot weather softened up the finish a bit, because it was much easier to work with.

Eric treated himself to a new tool which helped our progress in removing the shellac: the Fein MultiMaster. Now, here's a tool we should have bought AGES ago!  We were actually fighting over who got to use it!  Once our tug-o'-war over the MultiMaster ended, we attacked the floor, and estimated we had the entire finish removed in about 6 hours or so.  This is THE TOOL if you're renovating an old house, its uses are only limited by the imagination.   Seriously, we were sitting there using it, saying, hey, if only we had this tool earlier, wow, we could have saved ourselves a lot of blood, sweat and tears.  (It's not that tragic, just sayin'.)

We bought model FMM250Q, either the special or limited edition version that is currently being marketed by Fein Canada.  The Fein MultiMaster is built in Germany, and it's tough.  We looked at the comparable Bosch model, but after some research, we were quickly sold on the Fein.  They made it first, and they make it best, as far as we were concerned.  We own other Bosch tools (I think a huge drill and a reciprocating saw), but the Fein outshone Bosch in the multi-tool department.  We are in love!

The tool was not cheap, I think this edition retails for CAD$349, which when our crazy sales tax is added comes to around $400.  That's a LOT of money for a tool, but we feel it's worth it given what we still need to do upstairs, in the barns and with our old boat (a thought I need to repress).
Here's a close-up of the blade we used to remove the shellac which came off in sheets we could actually pick up and throw into the garbage bag.  Sweet!  Seriously, this was the first time we were shouldering each other out of the way to use a tool:  LET ME, NO, NOOOOO, I WANNA USE IT, LEAVE IT, LEMMEEEEEE...we were acting like juveniles.

You need hearing protectors to use the tool, but it's not an aggressive sound that will make others in the room run for cover.  I could easily sweep up the room while Eric used the tool with hearing protectors.  The only caveat both of us noticed is that it's easy to get carried away and use it for an hour or so non-stop, and only when you pry your hand off the tool do you realize the vibration does affect your fingers and hand.  I've been operated for carpal tunnel on my right hand so I'm careful with tools; using the MultiMaster was not the least bit uncomfortable, but I wouldn't go using it for, say, a three-hour grout removing marathon.

So, the next step is repairing the carved groove, filling in the 6" hole, plugging three 1" holes, one 2" hole, and a variety of other pings and dents.  There was also a lot of plastic wood we removed between the boards that will need to be epoxied.  Nothing really major, just time consuming.  But we'll get there eventually.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What I was going to do...

...was give you a sordid, wurst-by-wurst, wool shop-by-wool shop account of my fabulissimo week in Wiesbaden.  Instead, you're getting this:
The Marktkirche in Wiesbaden.   The last time I was in Wiesbaden, the church was being restored and was covered in scaffolding.  It's nice to see it unencumbered.

The Marktkirche is the centre-piece of Weisbaden's market square, where twice-weekly farmer's markets take place.  One year, I want to go to Wiesbaden during the Christmas season and visit the Christmas market that takes place here as well.  I spent the better part of one day wandering around the market-stands, eyeing fruits and vegetables, sausage and cheese, fresh herbs and flower bouquets.  It was a feast for the eyes.
The Marktstrasse.  Wiesbaden's sometimes-confusing pedestrian zone has been mastered by yours truly.  I know where every Ditsch pretzel stand is.  €0.60 gets you a fresh pretzel - hot out of the oven.  Be still my beating heart.  I lost count how many I ate.  Yet, remarkably, I came back weighing 2 pounds less then when I left - I walked so much I bruised my toe nails.  Cobblestones are hard on the feet like that.  Next time, I'm bringing better shoes along.
Another view of the pedestrian zone at the corner of the Marktstrasse and the Hessicher Landtag, the parliamentary building of Hessen, the federal state Wiesbaden is located in.  There is so much history here, and so much architecture to take in.  There are some unbelievable art nouveau buildings in Wiesbaden.  Some of the best examples on the web are here.  When I say it's a stunning city, it's a stunning city.
The Schloss (Palace) Biebrich in Wiesbaden-Biebrich.  Backing onto the Rhine, this palace features a nice restaurant.  Share the Elsaesser Flammkuchen and have the goat-cheese salad, and raise a glass of riesling.
Or have a glass of Radler - a mix of beer and Sprite or 7-Up.  I know, I know, it sounds terrible but goes down in a flash and tastes like more when your first glass is finished.

Life isn't just good, it's superlative.  I got so spoiled I didn't want to return home.  That's when you know you're having a Good Time.

I flew with one carry-on for ease of travel.  This time, I was smart though and packed not one, but two bags inside my suitcase.  When I returned, I checked two bags which were stuffed to the brim with chocolate, Haribo gummibears, and woolwoolwool.  So much sock wool that my circular sock machines are gonna be humming this winter!  I can't wait to show you my stash enhancements!

My first week back home is always frustrating but I'm getting accustomed to it and have learned to go with the flow.  We live with one foot on each continent, Eric and I, and I wish there were some way we could combine both worlds into one happy utopia.  I vowed I would take advantage of the opportunity to visit Germany more often, at least once a year, even if it's only for a week at a time.  It's enough time to decompress and relax, get caught up with old friends and not overstay a welcome.

Germany is my heimat and I love it there.   I also find it interesting that wiki defines heimat as having no simple translation - it's patriotism without nationalism.  It's hard to put a finger on it, but it's part of my culture, my up-bringing, and my mother tongue.  Even though this - Shim Farm - is home and our little corner of paradise, Germany makes my heart pitter-patter.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July 22

 Crossing the runway in FRA.
Ahhh...Fraport, as they call it.  I've got chills up my spine, and not because it's 12 C.  Going to Frankfurt is like going to my other home across the sea.

Welcome to the land of sausage, malt beer, Riesling and chocolate.  In that order.

I'm gonna have me a vay-cay-shun!

This was also the first time I have actually slept in a plane since I-don't-know-when.  Hats off to whoever designed those Boeing 777 seats in business class (yeah, business class - I lucked out with an upgrade!)  You just press the "ZZZ" button and with a little zoom and a little whoosh, your seat turns into a FLAT BED.  Yup.  You read that right.  So sweet I hugged my pillow extra-hard and promptly fell asleep. 

I was off to a good start.

Monday, August 1, 2011

July 21

My sweater wasn't finished in time. I hung my head in shame.

I had to leave town.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...