Thursday, 28 February 2019

Conservatory Day 3 & 4

Not much to report I'm afraid, yesterday I saturated the ceiling again hoping to remove more of the stain but to little or no avail. Still, I'm happy with the difference from where it started.

Today, as it is still fairly cool outside (high of 7C) I worked on cleaning the windows - lots of tree & leaf bits in the runners. An old toothbrush and some elbow grease and for the most part I was able to remove all the biodegraded gunk out. Too cold to wash the windows really so I decided to leave that for another day.

The best part of this project so far has been that the bleaching has removed the old smell from the space, the worst has been that I put PineSol in the window runner water -- new stink. Fortunately, PineSol is a fly deterrent so maybe the effect will last going in to fly season - though likely not.

According to those who never get it right we will be warming up here as of Monday... tick tock.

Because there is still plenty of snow on the hills and in the well shaded sites, there isn't much landscaping that we can do so I would like to take this opportunity of 'quiet' time to get as much done on the conservatory as possible.

Hoping to be able to get the wood for the potting area floor this weekend but that is unclear right now. The floor would be a good project to do while waiting for the temps to rise, it must be 10C to do exterior painting and that is still 2 weeks out - again, according to those who never get it right.

I haven't checked, but assuming its a reasonable temperature tomorrow I think I shall tackle a paint smear on one of the window screens... look close and you'll see it on the right window.

The Conservatory

Might even go all out and scrape off a paint drip I noticed today on one of the windows themselves and there is a 2nd blind to take down yet. I took the other off the other day when we took out the shelves but failed to notice the one in the potting area.

Doesn't seem like I'm doing a lot in a day but the phone and emails are coming in more and more regularly so we have to keep stopping what we're doing to deal with inquiries, bookings and the like. 

In the last picture you'll see a pile of branches on the right that was debris from the snowstorm that was recently uncovered by melt, yesterday we had another gusty evening so there is even more to be raked up. 

I have pretty much decided to put my 'solar heater' into the window on the left side of the door. That spot gets the most sunshine in winter ( I did the online test for solar directional blah blah) and it will mean not having to drill any holes in the outside of the building. It will be completely contained within itself and I will simply sit it on the 4" window sill, once I know how its working (good/bad) I can always attach a hose of some sort and push it along to the conservatory end of the building if necessary - and it can be easily removed in the height of summer's heat. Hoping that the windows will add to the solar heating of the already enclosed heater.... anyone know otherwise?

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Conservatory Day 2

After emptying the new Conservatory space it was time to start on the ceiling. The Conservatory end of this shed has a floor, but the potting end does not. We will be putting a floor on the potting end and re-caulking the roof because we are not completely sure which side this mould is coming from. There is a good possibility that it is coming from the open floor area, but we want to be sure.

So yesterday (and again later today), I set about saturating this mould with a bleach solution. Because it was so heavy, I opted for a roughly 70/30 bleach solution. 

Before: Conservatory ceiling

After: Conservatory ceiling

Before: Potting ceiling

After: Potting ceiling

Super impressed with how this turned out, so much so that I'm going to hit it again today and hope to completely eliminate the staining. I have purchased a mould killing paint assuming that while the mould would be killed that the black staining would need to be painted to cover it. If however, I am able to eliminate the staining I can return the mould kill paint.

We are planning to use a white stain as opposed to paint -for a rustic look, so it would be great to be able to do the same on the ceiling.

I have also found a couch/guest bed solution on Pinterest for which I can use the heavy cedar planks that we removed from the conservatory the other day.

Still keeping an eye out for some better lighting options.

I believe we will do a Solar Heating option, though I am still researching the details of this - specifically for best options towards southern exposure for a north side building without losing all the heat before it enters the space. More on this later.

Monday, 25 February 2019

The making of a Conservatory

Okay so the snow is almost gone... enough that we can get into what we are calling the 'Conservatory', What?! It has windows....... work with me people.... :D

I have a basic idea of what I want to do in there and as much as I'd love to insulate it and do all of that, we are just not ready to go to that length as yet. So likely a splash of paint and some sort of furnishing and while I have thought about putting in my long awaited Rocket Mass Heater for some spring/fall warmth, I'm pretty sure the owner wouldn't agree for insurance purposes so no point in even asking.

Here is what it looks like at the moment:

Entrance. Not much will change here.

This is an area for potting plants. 
I intend to keep this, though it will be edited with a floor and likely paint.

This is the main 'Conservatory' part.
We haven't measured it yet but we think that door might fit where this picture was taken from, which would help in maintaining any heat we were to create in some way. Open to suggestions on heat also.

While we do not have any specific plans as yet, the general idea will be to empty it. Removing these shelves will allow us to get a better sense of the space, likely paint it white and add some furnishings. I'm torn between just having camping chairs or building some sort of seating that I can make cushions for... 

Since I will not be putting a Rocket Mass Heater under the windows as I had originally conceptualized, the entire space opens up all the more options for other seating arrangements. I'd like to try to use the current blinds (wicker things) as an outdoor shade thing somehow once we learn the 'hot' areas of the outdoor garden space. I think white curtains, while they might suit the space better, will likely not hold up well in an outdoor environment such as this so perhaps a pop of colour or texture on the windows will be the best bet.

If anyone has any other suggestions, now would be the time to share them... I am open to anything as its all up in the air at this time... The space is approx 8'w x 10'd.

The intent here is to create a comfortable space where we can lounge of an evening and visit with family, friends or just the two of us and our loving puppy....

Speaking of the puppy... Robbie has a 3' round dog bed which I want to incorporate into the space but I'm concerned about bugs/mice, etc.... I suppose I could put the stuffing inside a large garbage bag and include some Irish Spring (possibly shaved) inside the bag as well... anyone have any better ideas. We don't know what the mice situation will be but I don't want to find out the hard way either.

PS Yes, Irish Spring works and they are cheap as borscht at the Dollar Store.... buy as many as you can reasonably afford, cut them in half and put them in every bay and around tires ( I rub the bottom of the tires with the soap first - including the back side), leaving one tucked out of site behind each tire. I also put a couple in the engine compartment.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Snowbound week

Well we are still waiting for the snow to disappear. Ended up with somewhere between 34"-37" depending on which side of the creek you were on... brutal.

Most of the campers here have 4x4 so were able to get out okay, Brad drove one to town a couple of times because she wasn't able to get up the long driveway.

There are still plenty of people plowed in, unable to get out of their driveways by car. Brad spent about 4 days last week sitting downtown waiting for hitch hikers and driving them here or there. Hitch hiking is a thing here on Salt Spring Island, all year long you will see plenty of people with their thumbs out.

Generally we do not pick up hitch hikers but in such adverse conditions as we experienced last week, Brad felt it was a good way for him to contribute to the efforts of many people on the island who were out helping others.

Don't know when the weather will get warm enough, but the moment it does I will be out there trashing our outdoor enclosed living area in an attempt to make it a comfortable place for us and maybe some friends/family. It would also be great to have somewhere for the winter crowd of campers to be able to gather and interact occasionally.

PS: In the 70's ( my childhood - when the world was a better place?!) I heard of a man ( in Canada, no less) who picked up a hitch hiker and ended up with his throat slit, hence my no pick up policy.

PPS: Yes, I am a little crazy but a whole lotta cute! Right?!!!!   :D

Monday, 11 February 2019

Move to BC they said...

...they don't have winter, they said...

This morning.

The snow is over my rubber boots.

I moved the (lifted) Jeep and the engine compartment was dragging through the snow. We have a snowplow guy coming but no ETA as the roads take priority obviously.

Incredibly beautiful nevertheless

One of our campers decided to snowboard down the driveway before the plow comes.

 Snow was too deep and fluffy I guess, he just couldn't get it going, but fun to try.

Last night the snow measured 7" on top of the solar golf cart.

This morning...


You may remember this picture from the Blog header in the fall.

I took this one last night at the 7" mark. Same angle, etc. So I think I'll take one for all four seasons. 
(current header picture)

No matter the weather or the season, this place is a Magical Wonderland!!
Yes, even in the rain.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Blizzard and a new CPAP

Although the island is still recovering from the storm of Dec 20th when we lost many trees and power for as long as 2 weeks for some people, apparently there is a blizzard on its way beginning tonight (Friday).

We will be hunkered down in our little rig for a few days while what is - in these parts, anyway - a bitter few days passes. 'They' tell us it will be -12C tonight (10F) and in that range for another 4 days before warming up slightly to the -5C (23F) range - these are windchill temps. This island could get as much as 4 inches of snow according to the people who never get it right and a lot of wind (90km/h / 56 mph) is expected, making this quite a blizzard.

I thought I'd put out this post just in case we should lose power (we were only out for 1.5 days on Dec. 20) which we undoubtedly will, for an extended period. Because of the storm's strong winds in Dec a lot of trees were felled and concern now is for the danger of compromised (ie loose) trees falling and given that the island is covered with rather large trees, this is a significant concern.

On another note:
Brad has been having trouble with his CPAP machine for quite awhile now and on Wednesday we decided that he would go to Duncan and get a new one. First, I called to make sure the place I thought would have them in stock actually had them in stock and they did but the price was around $2500. This is not his first purchase of these things, so we knew they would be expensive but while he waited, literally with his coat on I decided to check Amazon....

His new CPAP is due to arrive today via Purolator. The CPAP was under $500 and his new mask which he didn't need but decided to get anyway, was about $115. The new mask arrived yesterday. Both are from Canadian suppliers (ie not China), while they were probably made in China like everything else, they are not shipping on the slow boat from China. I know a few readers use a CPAP so I thought I'd mention this as these machines are very expensive.

As for prescriptions... if you are ordering an Auto CPAP you do not need a prescription and the pressures do not need to be set. Only for an old style CPAP do you need an appointment with the setterupper guy to get your machine sorted, requiring you to pay a fortune to purchase the machine from said setterupper guy.

Should you have trouble with it at any time, just Google it. There are plenty of YouTube videos of how to change the settings, etc of particular machines. And the new machine of course, does come with instructions. Amazon: one advantage to this Global Economy. We have purchased CPAPs from the states before because they are quite a bit cheaper but these Amazon prices are priceless.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Christmas in February

The edge of the Polar Vortex is upon us. It was supposed to begin snowing at noon, so Brad and I were out first thing to remove the blackberry bush clippings that were lining the edge of the entrance road. We weren't at it long when the boss man stopped by and we stopped for a coffee and a chat, then right back at it and we managed to get all the clippings that were in view of any current campers.

Still a bunch up Tenting Ring road, we can get to that once the snow melts, it was more important to clear up the unsightly stuff. It got quite cold (it's all relative, I know) so we called it a day and tucked up in the warmth of our RV for the night.

When I took Robbie out late last night, this is what I found:

A sprinkling of snow 

Then this morning....

About 2 inches of snow

I was tempted to run back and turn on the Xmas lights strung along the roofline of this outbuilding but since its daytime... tonight I will put them on though. I love this building, its so cute... its like living in a western film, the office building looks very similar too. I'm tempted to put red checkered curtains in the windows -- might just, but I'll have to change out the Xmas light bulbs as they are blue at the moment.... maybe blue checkered curtains? No, red is better me thinks.

I will put a poll up on the blog and you can tell me what colour you think is best.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Suck it up Princess

Its been a little busy around here but other than yardwork around the campground and doing our usual eating out at our usual haunts which I've talked about several times already, I just didn't know what to say. Writer's block I guess you'd call it. 

We realized that the storm had damaged a fence, so we had to take out a few posts and replace them.

I made some fairy doors which I plan to put around the grounds (in common areas) for kids to hunt for in lieu of a treat of some kind. The doors are nothing fancy but the kids won't care and the weather will destroy most anything anyway.

Susan and I went for a walk around Mouat's park, which is very close to here but I didn't realize. I had taken a different park to be Mouat's park so it was great to find another trail in another park we hadn't experienced yet. Thank you Susan.

Someone created this and set it in Mouat's park

A handful of no service campsites in this park also but apparently it is abused quite a bit.

Beautiful spot

Not sure who runs these, but I hear Banana Joe maintains them. Banana Joe is a guy I see often on FB and sometimes share his pictures.

This was taken several days ago downtown, the tulips are rising

Ganges harbour, Brad and I took a stroll along the waterfront and sat on a bench and just enjoyed the moment - for about half an hour, it was great. Look closely and you can see the ferry heading in to Long Harbour in the center

A closer pic of the ferry

Beach down Beddis road

Brad and Robbie enjoying the sunshine

This boat is a hot topic on the island at the moment.....long story.

Essentially, this boat is on pontoons, during the storm a pontoon was damaged and the boat started sinking, it was towed ashore as seen here, but some islanders don't want it on the foreshore and many people have been trying to tow it out but apparently it was brought in on a super high tide which won't be seen again until Nov we're told... after a couple of weeks of much kerfuffle, a couple of nights ago it caught fire. I don't have a pic of the burned up shell yet but suffice it to say the boat is a goner.

On my way to Pickleball the other night I had a blonde moment. Whilst plugging in my seatbelt my thumb caught on my pocket as I was bringing my hand back up to the steering wheel, hurt like hell but off I went to Pickleball anyway, not thinking much of it... yes, I played a few games through the pain - frankly, that's just the sort of crazy person I am... 

Several days later after trying to stabilize my thumb with tensor bandages, I finally gave in and went to the Dr. Yes, me, at the Dr.... he said basically the same thing I had been saying, 'suck it up Princess' (he doesn't know I'm a Queen - we just met LOL) so I went back to Pharmasave and bought a proper thumb stabilizer thingy for my hand, Dr says at least a week - maybe two. I'm having a great deal of trouble typing with it on so if this post isn't perfect - suck it up Princess! 

We've been working - when it isn't raining (this is the rainy season) on cleaning up the campground, raking the bazillion leaves, cutting back the blackberry bushes that are rampant here and pruning the trees before they wake up. Generally getting the grounds ready for the season, yes we have plenty of time yet, but there is a lot to do to get it the way we want it and if we do a little bit every possible day it won't be a mad rush at the season opening.

I have been studying up on Keyhole Gardens, as I have noticed that campgrounds (KOA is a prime example) are taking on a farm to table thing of late and I thought we could do a garden of camping vegetables like lettuce, tomatoe, potatoe, onion, etc. Salt Spring Island has been having a drought in summers apparently, so I've been trying to formulate if and how this idea could work within our little campground here. Keyholes, done correctly, do not attract vermin and do not require weeding (something to do with the height that I don't understand). Problem here -Deer, so it will need to be enclosed somehow. Anyway, all of this is still in the possibility/planning/conception stage.

Our laundry system is still working out well and I'm very pleased with it so far. It will be better when I can hang things outside of course, but the dryer gizmo does work very well, just requires smaller loads which it turns out works better for me anyway.... I've always done laundry as a once a week kind of thing but this twice a week is so much easier. Not having to go to Duncan once a week means a tank of gas last us about 3 weeks. Bonus.

I've been taking a lot of bookings for the summer months already, I mean who thinks about June/July/Aug in January - RVers, that's who! I wasn't expecting this many calls so far ahead of time but it's sure great to be busy. Salt Spring Island is so incredible in winter I guess it isn't surprising that so many people want to ensure their spot for summer. Can't wait to see how Mother Nature will improve on what we've been experiencing here so far... I do want to increase tent bookings and we plan to offer more sites next winter for snowbirds and full-timers. 

A lot of work yet to do.