Amy (old posts, page 16)

Daily Deck Update 3

The view out the back. Okay, I promise that I’m not going to keep on posting more and more pictures every day, if only because I don’t think I could take 14 good pictures on the 14th day… But today there were really three things I wanted to point out. The first is the view from the back door out into the garden. That’s pretty much how it’ll look every time I walk out there. Well, with a top on it, and planters and a garbage box and a barbeque, and stuff, but that’s the layout.
It’s big, from this angle. The next shot is how it will look coming in to the house (if you’re really small, like Cordelia). Amy noticed that our house looks a little ramshackle, with the door all boarded up and stuff. (Cory (see the previous entry) was nice enough to screw a few boards in so that the girls didn’t fall out.)
The Master Plan. And finally, the shot from Delphine’s room, where you can see the full-width stairs down the back (on the top of the picture); the cut-out for the stairs on the side; and, uh, well I guess that’s all you can see, but on top of the cut-out will be one of the planters, wiht a matching planter on the other side; underneath the cut-out will be the garbage-box-thing; on the lower left will be the barbeque, and the upper half will have a table and chairs for lounging.

There’s also a nice amount of space on the right for my bicycle, so I guess I should figure out a way to make that area a little smoother and nicer to bike or walk on.

Daily Deck Update 2

Y.M.C.A.!Some wood.
A bonus picture today! The nice gentleman on the left is Cory, our foreman/general contractor/construction guy. (He insisted on a re-do with the shades on. I can get behind that.) The picture on the right is where we are as of now. You can see sort of how far it goes out (except that the board at the bottom of the picture is about 5´ away from the door), and underneath the cat litter is a black sheet of plastic, to kill whatever vegetation thinks it wants to grow under there.

Daily Deck Update

Not much.I thought it might be fun to post daily pictures of what’s happening on our deck, so that later when we wonder just what’s under there, we will be able to go back and see.

We already have a picture of the first day’s “progress”, and so here’s today’s. Not a whole lot to look at, but those holes were dug by hand by an intern. With his bare hands, I tell you!

Six Months Later...

I am sure I have read a book in the last six months. Maybe even two or three. Now that the reno is over I have run out of excuses for not reading, so here goes.

According to my notebooks I read Born To Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by Juliet Schor and there wasn't much in there that I didn't know; companies spend billions marketing all kinds of products to children. I was creeped out by the use of viral and peer-to-peer marketing — using kids to sell stuff to their friends. The other annoying thing is the way marketing and consumer culture loves to position parents as dorky ineffectual losers who should be ignored as much as possible.

Also worth noting is the connection between immersion in consumer culture and depression in children. One of the great things my parents did for me (although not entirely intentionally) was shelter me from consumer culture to a large entent, partially by not having TV (or not having cable) and partially just because we couldn't afford lots of toys so we mostly found our fun in books from the library and plenty of public radio. Good geeky fun.

Kids Are Worth It: Raising Children to be Responsible, Resourceful, Caring Individuals by Barbara Coloroso is a book I read because it's often quoted in the parenting magazines, and it seemed like one of those books I ought to read. And I'm really glad I did; it crystallized a lot of the vague parenting philosophies I'd had and gave me lots of ideas and structure for how to implement them: how to treat my kids with respect, how to provide consequences, how to discipline. Coloroso is a great resource for a frazzled mum because she gives you lots of bulleted lists and mnemonics so you can recall her advice in moments of stress. Which are most of them, really.

Alright, I've read more than two books in the last six months but now the stupid (I mean lovely) baby is awake so you'll have to wait another six months for my next post. Adios!

Oh Dear.

Here's a picture:Oops.
Painful evidence that a Central Fairbanks Lumber truck does not, in fact, and to the great chagrin of our contractor, fit down our back lane.

Oh, and: that's not our fence. That's our neighbour's fence. And they have a dog which they can now not let out until we fix their fence. Off to buy some wine and flowers...

We have growth!

I was out inspecting my garden this afternoon and I found that two of my zucchini mounds are growing little seedlings! I realize growing zucchini is not normally considered an accomplishment, but it's the first of the things I have put into this garden that has actually grown, so I am fairly pleased with myself. Especially considering I caught a squirrel on one of the mounds munching on a snack of zucchini seeds a couple of days after I planted them.

There's also a couple of things coming up where I planted the sunflower seeds. I'm not sure if they're sunflowers, but they were cute and hearty so I left them.

In other news, the latest thing the maple tree is flinging at us is little green caterpillars. Oh, and we have golden dung flies, which are really pretty cool as bugs go, apart from the obvious dung implication. Stupid neighbour's dogs.

Retreat to the Great Indoors

I was in the garden this morning hanging out some washing. It's a nice sunny day and the kids were enjoying themselves in the garden, so I decided I would water the plants (as per J'Anne's advice, and the strawberry was looking a little limp). I know midday is not the ideal time to water plants, but when you have little kids you go to war with the schedule you have, not the schedule you want.

First, though, I cleaned up a dog poo in my garlic patch. (Must see about getting fences on the back and front.) After I watered, I was pulling up weeds around the garlic and cherry tomatoes when I saw two more dog poops, and then immediately was stung by a huge stinging nettle plant growing merrily by the maple tree.

So I gave up, rounded up the children and we're going to stay in the safe, cool, low-UV poop-free (mainly) indoors for the rest of the day. And I will figure out how to tackle the nettles. Unless we go to Starbucks.

Spring in the New Garden

When we bought this little house it came with a garden. A big garden. A big, intimidating garden which used to be really well-tended and loved. I, on the other hand, have never gardened before and have no idea what I'm doing. This poor garden doesn't know what hit it.

So far I have spent a lot of time cleaning up; we have a maple tree in the backyard (oh, and another one in the front yard) and apparently the primary occupation of maple trees is to drop crap on you all year 'round: blossoms, maple keys, leaves. I can only assume that the maple syrup is by way of apology.

Blake's aunt J'Anne, the family gardener, was up a couple of weeks ago and we did a lot of work moving plants from the backyard to the front -- there are lots of plants near the back door where the deck will eventually be, and we are going to try and rescue as many of them as we can. We also weeded the front border, especially under the hedge. The hedge is doomed; I am going to get rid of it sometime in the next couple of years and plant something pretty in its place. But in the meantime it harbours a lot of crappy little weeds, and maple saplings. Stupid maple trees.

Since J'Anne was here I also added a bunch of hot pink impatiens to the front, mainly because Baba told me to. I think they will look nice once they fill out. They're cute now, but small.

In the back yard, I haven't done much; I am paralysed by the sheer size. I did plant a bunch of vegetables: zucchini, corn, sunflowers, and lettuce seeds, and squash, tomato, strawberry, basil, sage, lavender and mint plants. There are already what I thought were onions but I now suspect are garlic, as well as a huge patch of raspberries. So far I don't think anything that I have planted has, oh, say, grown at all, but Manuel's stuff (the previous owner) is doing fantastically. The previous owners had some serious green thumbs, considering that most of the garden gets at best partial sun. But then they were retired and by all accounts spent all their time gardening.

Other stuff that is growing from last year includes a glorious patch of ostrich ferns, some cosmos, violets, daylilies, a rose, bleeding heart, more ostrich ferns, sedum, daffodils, and some stuff which might be weeds. And lots of stuff which definitely is weeds; I have been preparing the ground on an as-needed basis, which means there are still lots of messy scrubby patches.

I am overwhelmed by the learning curve ahead of me; there seems to be so much you need to know to be a successful gardener. The nice thing, though, is that it's almost consequence-free. The worst that can happen is that I could buy a plant or some seeds and have them fail. No-one will be disappointed, no-one will get hurt, and I'll get to spend some time outside getting dirty.

Ouch.

So. My back is screwed up, again, probably because I haven't been doing the stretches and things I am supposed to do, and generally haven't been doing any exercise at all, apart from the usual lugging of kids and light housekeeping and gardening. Apparently that isn't going to do the trick, though, so I am looking into starting Pilates with Morgan as soon as my back clears up.

For today, though, I am useless. Delphine has literally been watching TV all day. It's a bit of an experiment; will she ever get sick of watching TV? So far, no. Cordelia has been amusing herself in that babyish way just wandering around exploring toys and things. Babies are so easy.

I've been icing my back (mmm, icing) and taking ibuprofen all day, and it feels a bit better. Hopefully by tomorrow I will be fine, because tomorrow morning Delphine has her four-year-old annual checkup and I don't fancy limping down there with her and Cordelia in tow. Still and all, I'll manage one way or another. And now Miss Cordelia is awake, so I have to go retrieve her.

Almost Done! Really!

I have so much to blog about and not coincidentally no time to blog, but I am going to try and squeeze in a couple of things before Cordelia wakes up and we have to go pick up Delphine and take her to her hair appointment. Which really should be happening RIGHT NOW.

Anyway, the reno is done and yes I will post pictures. Well, almost done; we are missing a light fixture — we are reusing an original fixture and it is at the shop being refitted with modern, I don't know, bits and pieces — and we need faceplates on the outlets in the kitchen now that the tile is done. And a deck, we need a deck, although we might not be able to afford one. Otherwise it's done, though!

I'm really happy with how the kitchen looks; I think we really captured the feel of the fifties while still having a nice modern kitchen. I am especially pleased with how content the sink looks nestled on the retro Formica countertop.

Now all we need to do is unpack the kitchen! In order to make Delphine's birthday cake today I had to buy baking powder, flour, food colouring, sprinkles, and cake pans! All because I haven't managed to unpack anything yet.