Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cleaning out the Attic

The crap we hang on to!  Both Eric and I owned 3 bedroom condos before moving here.  The fact we were both in our 30's when we met meant we'd already accumulated a plethora of goods.  We both had hobbies that took up space:  Eric owns scuba equipment, motorcycle racing leathers, loves his radio-controlled models, photography and books.  He owns the largest drafting table I swear I have ever seen, plus a drum set.

In retaliation, I own both downhill and cross-country ski equipment, tons and tons of books, and have a long-standing fetish for antique decoys and old linens.  I own a ton of Christmas decorations.  We might or might not want to mention my wool collection, which takes up about 5 large Rubbermaid bins.  We should mention that between the two of us, we owned 2 of everything:  irons and ironing boards, coffee machines, espresso machines, coffee grinders, cutlery, dishes.  Towels, beds, linens, chairs, desks, and sofas.  It's a miracle we actually need to buy anything ever again, as a matter of fact.

We have a barn beside the house with a little attic we store our duplicates in.  When friends mention they're shopping for something and we think we might have a match, we invite them upstairs and let them have a  look.  We're delighted when kids grow up and move out of their parents' home.  We give away things like colanders and bundt pans and pots and pans.  Need 30 champagne flutes for an upcoming event?  No problem, we've got you covered.  You might as well take the organza table runners and tea-light holders while you're at it, too.

Living in a sparsely decorated house with no attached garage, basement or attic, coupled with the fact old farm houses have no built-in closets caused us to become creative.  Rather, it caused us to become slovenly.  We'd pitch stuff up there so haphazardly that the attic storage started to become unmanageable.  And the more stuff we'd bring up there, the worse things got, obviously.  Excuses for not tackling the space piled up like the contents:  it was either too hot or too cold.  We didn't have the time, or we weren't in the mood for organizing.

Finally, it was Eric who made the first move:  his collection of National Geographics was on the chopping block.  I decided to take them to the War Memorial library, but when I got there to drop them off, a volunteer told me to chuck them straight into the recycling bins out back because there is no demand for them.  The horror!  I couldn't bring myself to do it.  Then I had a brain-storm.  Maybe the Montessori preschool was interested?  I keep forgetting to drop by and ask, so it looks like I've got a permanent collection of National Geographics in the trunk of my car now.  Dammit.

Well, with Eric parting with his precious National Geographics, we moved on:  We culled boxes and papers and obsolete computer equipment.  Mice had taken a feather bed to task, so in the garbage that went.  We found clothing that neither of us claimed to own.  (Maybe someone's living up there besides the mice, and we don't even know it?)  We've recycled tons of stuff, given away tons more, and every day, we put stuff at the road for passers-by to pick up.  By the next morning, it's almost always gone.   It's so nice that we've managed to make space upstairs and get things under pseudo-control.  My conscience is nearly eased.

Today, I went through boxes of old books and sorted a whole lot out.  All the books are going to the War Memorial Library for their monthly fundraising sale.  The paperbacks are left at the bookcase at our local IGA, which sort of functions as a lending library.  You take one book out and put one book in.  Or in my case, you put the books in and don't even THINK of taking one home.  (Must. Avert. Eyes.)

With the upstairs of our house in a state of renovating flux, my decoys don't have a proper home yet.  Today, for the first time in a decade, I opened up the box and had a look-see:
Ahhh, I'd forgotten all about the pin-tail.  I love those birds like they're my off-spring.  Every decoy has a story behind it, and I clutch them to my chest and carry them around, smiling like the damn fool I obviously am.  The photo above is just the tip of my decoy iceberg.

When we tore out our old staircase, we saved those balusters and newel posts that weren't cracked beyond repair.  Of course, we pitched them upstairs:

I have no clue what we're going to do with them, but I can't bring myself to part with them just yet.  I thought of refinishing the best newel post and putting it back into the house, but I'm not sure how I'm going to integrate it yet.  I guess time will tell.

Those lamps I swore I'd turn into piƱatas?  They're all up here too...just waiting...for what I don't know.  Probably for me to clean them off and stick them on craigslist or kijiji:
I'll probably just get pissed off, one day soon, and put them at the side of the road.  I'm sure someone, somewhere, would love to hang one of these in their basement, above their poker table...

(I'm dreaming, aren't I?)
These hanging rattan chairs were THE cat's meow - what - 40 years ago?  They're like...vintage...yeah...vintage, that's it.  We have two and one day...we're going to put them somewhere.  I remember swinging in these when I was a kid, and thinking I was a character straight out of a Pink Panther film.  I'm just seriously wondering if we can make them work somewhere in our house.  You'll notice the feathers stuffed in the top corner?  Part of a mouse nest, made out of that feather bed that died an unfortunate death.  I'm sure those mice were pretty happy, though.
Oh.  Pray tell, what have we here?  Why, it's box, a relatively LARGE box, with hundreds and hundreds of corks in it, that's what!  One of my friends has a gorgeous cork-board made from used wine corks, beautifully framed and hanging above the sideboard in their dining room.  It's a work of art, and when I saw it, I was smitten.  I feel bad for all those wine corks, unceremoniously chucked into landfill sites, slowly rotting away.  Sadly, this box makes us looks like we're world-class winos, but rest assured, we're pretty sober most of the time.  One day, I'm going to turn these into a bathmat.  Or trivet.  Or room divider. Or birdhouse.  Or whatever images dot google dot com spews up the day I get around to transforming them.  (Seriously.  Google used cork art.  You'll be amazed at the creativity.  You'll never throw another cork into the garbage, ever again.)

And that, dear friends, is but a small sampling of the goodies stashed away in the Shim Farm attic.  Slowly, we're organizing this jumbled space into a more functional area, clearing our conscience along the way.

Friday, August 17, 2012

In Other News

Just like that, from one day to the next, we received a letter in our mail box saying our postal service had been suspended.  Seems our mail delivery person deemed our road as "too dangerous" to deliver mail safely, and put a complaint in at the ministry of transportation, as well as the workplace safety board.

We now needed to drive into "town", (which is about 5 km from home, and not in a direction we'd normally drive in) to get our mail until a solution to our collective problem was found.  It's no great secret that Canada Post has been cutting back on their rural delivery over the past few years, and I can't say I really blame them.  What I disagree with is Canada Post's insane policies, and the creative ways they twist rules to suit their needs.

It was funny that about one week into our mail embargo, our postie went on vacation, and the replacement postie obviously didn't get the memo.  We started receiving our mail again.

I guess the ministry of transportation got the memo though, because a few days ago, a new speed limit sign was posted down the street.  Even I thought the speed limit at the end of our road was 70 km/h, but apparently it's been 50 km/h, just the sign was missing.  As in, for 10 years, missing.  Ahh, the bunglings of bureaucracy.  I used to burn up the non-emergency number for the cops in early years, complaining about the speeders tearing up and down our street.  Had I known the speed limit was only 50 km/h all the way along our street, I might have been a little more militant.  Alas.  I guess all we needed to do was clip the postie's car and watch the wheels that are government departments spin into over-drive.

Finally, four weeks later, we received a little envelope with 2 keys to an assigned community mail box.  We now get to walk down the street and pick up our mail and packages at a so-called super-box.  It's not convenient, there's no place to turn a car safely, but what the heck.  This little thing called "progress" is nipping at our heels.  As the saying goes:  You will be assimilated.  Canada Post will see to it, that's for sure.

In completely unrelated news, our town is still on a boil-water advisory because of high E. coli test results in our municipal water system.  It's been 3 months now, and a solution to our H2-Oh-Oh problem isn't anywhere on the horizon.  It's hard not to drink water out of the tap, especially while brushing one's teeth, for example.  I've never been a fan of bottled water, so buying water in bulk irritates me.  It's probably more dangerous than what comes out of the tap, considering most of it is bottled in plastic bottles and stored in dog knows what conditions, and for how long?  We always have the choice of switching over to our well water, but if the municipal water supply is contaminated with E. coli, ours is too, in all likelihood.  Why take that chance?

The only water that is tested potable is the run-off from our septic system, disinfected by UV treatment, no less.  Too bad we're not allowed to drink it.  Municipal rules, dontchaknow?  Oh, the irony.

So, every two weeks we receive a new notice, put in our old rural mail box no less, informing us of another 2 week delay.

It's great when systems work, isn't it?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer, Thus Far

It goes without saying I've been a crappy blogger.  Without further ado,  here are some photos:

It's been hot and dry.  Unlike many areas of Canada and the US, we've always had a good dumping of rain just in the nick of time, each and every time.  This hay was cut and baled on the same day, a rarity around these parts, where hay normally needs to dry at least a day or two before baling.

You might be able to make out the huge light-standard on the left-hand side of the photo.  This is the new extension of Highway 540 south, AKA Highway 30.  We don't call it the "30 in 30" for nothing - we've been waiting since the 80's for this highway to be built.  Work began in earnest three years ago, and this part of the highway is slated to open this December.

I'm not sure I'm eager to see just how much light those light-standards are going to give off, though.

And because I can't get enough of round bales of hay, here's the field on the other side of the road.

I'll say it again:  the weather this summer has been perfect.

No. Let me take that back.  We've had a lot of tornado warnings this summer, and a lot of wonky radar images that proved a bit troubling, but our general area was spared from really high winds and hail.  This time.
We have a new little JD lawn tractor.  I call her Fawn.  (Get it?  Baby Deer?)  Apparently, Fawn is my birthday present, but I'm still not buying that little gesture.  Ain't.  Buying.  It.

Fawn makes it possible, though, to make the grounds look semi-clean in record time.  Little Fawn is like a go-cart, but with the added bonus of blades.
I get excited about a cut lawn, okay?  Since Fawn's arrival, we were doing the lawn with the big JD and the bush-hog attachment, or my trusty walk-behind Eastman lawnmower.  I love Fawn.  Just ain't sure it's a good birthday present, Eric.

I caught a shot of this turkey vulture sunning himself on the roof of the barn.  The wingspan on these birds is from 63-72" if you believe everything you read on Wiki.  I don't need to believe it, I've seen it.  These birds are impressive.  This vulture sat there for a few moments, completely undisturbed, and then flew off, circling the farm on a thermal.

Because I am an idiot, we have a new cat:
Eric named her Capucine, which is french for nasturtium.  I don't agree on the name, so I'm calling her Cappucino.  Mostly I call her Cappie though, as a sort of compromise.  She's terribly cute and needy.  A real snuggle-muffin the likes of which this house hasn't seen in years.  She gets in my face (literally) and meows when she wants something.  Her meow features a little lisp, her tiny tongue covering her teeth in this adorable baby-cat kind of way.  Check out the hairy-ear action.  Eric always wanted a Maine Coon cat, and this is the closest we're going to get having anything pure-bred around here.  I'm all for mutts, cats and dogs and people alike.  Cappie was part of a stray cat's litter a friend was feeding, and our friend got terribly attached to her.  He couldn't keep her and suggested we take her in.  Well, twist my rubber arm.  I've got sucker written all over me.
The Bobberizer went missing for 5 full days.  I canvassed the neighbourhood, scoured internet missing pet boards, when low and behold, there he was, his little face in the window of the front door.  I haven't been that over-joyed in eons.  My Bobby, back home where he belongs.  He ate 2 tins of celebratory cat food upon his return, which led me to believe he'd been caught in a garage or shed somewhere.  At least he didn't smell of Bounce dryer sheets and cigarette smoke, and he wasn't wearing a flea collar...

Now, every time he comes into the house and I don't roll out the red carpet, he looks at me with disdain.  Sorry Bob, it's back to the mediocre dry food for you.  For some strange reason, he's actually spending the nights inside again, (albeit until 3:34 AM last night).  At 3:34, Bobby got all passive-aggressive, tap dancing on the dresser, and jingling the little pull-rings that open the night-table.  Bob has passive-aggressive down to a fine art, dontcha Bob?  Just another furry monster who has yours truly wrapped around their little paw.

Here's a double-rainbow for your viewing pleasure.  This is the view when I open up the Velux window in the master-bedroom, hence the corner of the roof in the picture.  This happens on a regular basis, so it's not that remarkable to us, but one of the rainbows was so bright I couldn't resist the photo.

Here's more proof:
See?  Awesome, isn't it?

That's been our summer in a nutshell.  I've got so many projects on so many burners that I hardly know where to start.  Stay tuned.
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