Tag Archives: spring

Unfinished Business, Spring Projects

We had some unfinished projects from last year when snow came a little too early. These are spring projects that included decks, finishing the siding and landscaping.

Now the winter is finally over. Trees are getting leaves and flowering. Nature is beautiful.

Crabapple blooms

Crabapple blooms

As always we are operating on a very limited budget. Of course, one of our goals is to see how inexpensively we can build a home.

We hired a contractor for the first time. I wanted continuous gutters which require special equipment. The contractor was an old friend and installed gutters on the house and garage, including leaf screens on the garage. The total cost was 850.00. Our rain barrels have been filled with valuable rainwater that we are using liberally for new plantings.

We also installed our surveillance system. It was one I had purchased a few years ago and never installed. It works perfectly, giving us 360 degree views of our property

New gutters

New gutters

We built the 10′ x 24″ deck with outdoor wood. The joists are 2 x 8 and the decking is 5/4 inch outdoor wood. It is attached to the house with joist hangers and rests on 5 concrete deck blocks. This allows for some movement without damage and is easily adjusted in the future. This method is fine for a low deck, but a higher deck should have posts securely attached to concrete pilings.



The railings are PVC that I was given for free. There was far more than I needed, so the rest (still a full truckload) was donated to the local legion.

Notice the blocking used to reduce deflection.


A ramp was added to the driveway side and steps to the garden side.


Railings assembled easily once I figured it all out.


The deck, mostly finished, still needs skirting. I think i will use white PVC lattice.

I installed our natural gas BBQ and now we need to purchase a patio set. It will have to wait until after taxes are paid and I accumulate a little cash. Material for the deck cost me about $1400.00. Good thing the railing was free.

We spent about $200.00 on trees (mostly fruiting) and plants. Some trees and perennials were moved from our last house and others were gifts. We have seeded some patches of grass but most will wait till next year We fell that sod would be too expensive, although it would speed things up considerably.

Now all we need is some guests enjoy the deck with us.

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Spring time in Alberta

 Today in Alberta it is beginning to look a little bit like spring might soon arrive.

Sure sign of Spring - Robin - Bird
A sure sign of springblmiers2 / Nature Photos / CC BY-NC-SA

The prairie dogs or gophers, as most of us call them, are out and playing chicken with cars on the highway. My wife saw her first robin today, and flocks of starlings are foraging bare spots. I walked out my door this morning, and the bright sun brought on a resounding sneeze. An immediate response came from a flock of Canada geese overhead who tried to out honk me. I think they were a little indignant that I spoke their language with such a bad accent.

The long gloomy winter was hard on the aged and infirm as usual. We lost a few of our friends and neighbors forever. Some of the wildlife has suffered as well, with the more than normal snowfall and few warm periods.

My wife has been leaving a few apples on our front steps, for the deer that are coming to town nightly, searching for food. They have abandoned most of their caution of human beings. Last night one ate the apples, and then deposited a pile of pellets on our front walk. I am not sure whether she was showing her disdain, or leaving the only gift she could, in return. My wife likes to think of it as a gift. We will use them to fertilize the flowers a little later.

Bald Eagle
A majestic birddigitalART2 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Yesterday, I nearly ran off the road ogling a huge majestic bald eagle flying overhead. Yes, the symbol of America was gracing Alberta skies. They are very rare in this part of the country. They are normally fish eaters, and all the water in this area has been frozen solid for the last five months.

It gave me a wonderful feeling that he (or she) had survived the winter. We had seen him early in the winter, chowing down on road killed deer. Yes, they are rare enough that I am sure it was the same one. Besides, he is extra large, even for his species.

I had originally intended to write today about mechanical and electronic systems in homes. When I sat down at my laptop I was feeling a little too frivolous to write about such a serious topic. Yes, spring can do that to a person. Even one as old as me. No I didn’t say frisky, I said frivolous. I used to feel frisky in the spring, but I got over it. Come to think of it, I used to feel that way most of the time.

Getting old can be a challenge, but I am not in a hurry to accept the alternative either. I get a lot of my exercise nowadays, getting up at night to go to the bathroom. In the morning, I check to see if anything else has grown on me. Now I spend more time  trimming nose and ear hair, than I used to spend shaving.

Kissing Prairie dog edit 3
Mila Zinkova / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Another thing that spring can do is make you want to lay down in a warm spot and have a nap. Several times a day. The old folks (well they were old to me then) used to say it was because your winter blood was too thick for the spring. Almost makes sense, in a weird sort of way. Of course getting old makes me want to have naps anyway. Those same old folk used to complain a lot about their “room-a-tiz,” when the weather was bad. What the heck is “room-a-tiz”? Could it have been a reference to rheumatoid arthritis? Beats me.

One advantage of age, is that now I can spend the time writing that I used to spend getting in trouble.  Now my idea of a good night is one beer and a book. It used to be—well let’s not get into that. Suffice it to say, I am not sure how I managed to stay alive this long.

When I was in my teens, a color television cost almost as much as a new car. Now they cost about as much as a couple cartons of cigarettes. When personal computers first appeared, I wasn’t young any more. Does anyone remember the Vic 20 or the Commodore 64? No, they weren’t battleships sunk in WW2, they were computers. They had about enough memory to save the name of your Saturday night date, if she wasn’t foreign. Now I have a telephone that has more memory than a hundred of those, and is smaller than a twenty dollar stack of one dollar bills. Oh, I forgot, we don’t have dollar bills in Canada anymore. Or two dollar bills. Or pennies.

My mother used to say, “Look after your pennies and the dollars will look after themselves.” She was usually right, but in this case they both went extinct, except for a few in captivity. Maybe it was climate change that took pennies out of our change.

Another cute lamb pic :)
Ennor / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Now the desktop PC is obsolete, and it is beginning to look like the laptop might go the same way. In our house we still read books, but we also have three or four E-readers and tablets laying around . We have GPS in every car, and our phones and computers know where they are all the time. The only way to get lost now is to give your phone to somebody else, and head for the sewers. The VCR has nearly gone extinct, but I still have a couple. We have been buying the old movies for a buck a piece or less, and now have a huge collection we could never afford before. Some are good ones that we never had time to watch in the past.

Getting back to spring. It is not about getting old or going extinct. it is a time of renewal, a rebirth, a time for new grass and new lambs. It is nearly here and we made it.

Have a good Easter Weekend everyone.

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