Thursday, May 31, 2012


I have a question... See these two raspberry plants?
The one on the right is strange. It has always been strange, to my knowledge. I thought perhaps it was attacked by an insect, but that wouldn't explain why just that one is like that, and even at the start of the year with brand new foliage and not many insects out yet.

Here's a close-up of the strange raspberry:

For comparison, here's the normal raspberry right beside it:

If it were you, would you remove it? Or, since it doesn't seem to spread, would you leave it? I've always been somewhat hesitant to eat the raspberries from it (I eat straight from the bush, rather than picking, washing, then eating), but maybe now that I know it's not covered in insects, I'll be more likely to eat it? (Or less, knowing it's internal... although it's unlikely to cross the raspberry-human species barrier.)

I took this photo while I was taking the others of the raspberries:
I find it funny for two reasons:
1. That pepto-pink is the colour that the house trim was when my parents moved in.
2. Given that it's the original colour, that trash can is at *least* several years older than *I* am!
(Also, what brand of paint is that... look at it's longevity!) This trash can is also the reason I was really baffled that my ex-boyfriend said that, when he was a homeowner, he would dispose of and replace his trash cans every few years. (Yeah, the bottom is a bit rusted out on this one, but that means the rain can't fill up the trash can... it's still perfectly functional as a trash can, and even appears to be in better shape than the newer ones beside it. (They sure don't make stuff like they used to!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

To Do...

Hmmm... given the way that gutter is dripping, I suspect I need to clean it out:

I promised a photo of the peeling wallpaper in the living room:
This is definitely the worst spot, but it's peeling at all the seams. (Interesting fact: mom says this one came pre-pasted. The paper in the hall, where she had to apply the paste, is sticking much better. I have *vague* recollections of the process of applying the paste. I was pretty young then.)

Carpet #1 to be ripped out:
This will be my master bedroom. I'm pretty sure this carpet is older than I am, but only by a few years, as my parents chose it. It has holes, and so I feel no guilt about ripping it out:
Hmmm... the wallpaper in this room appears to be in less than ideal condition:
I'd like to get a better cover for the cold air return too:
(My dad installed the cold air return. Covers weren't high on his list of priorities... I recall losing stuff down the one in my room. I kind of suspect my brother added this screen. Speaking of which, I need to check with my brother if those blue wires are just for his now-defunct server, or have another function.)

Although this carpet is just as old, it's staying:
It doesn't have holes. It was a victim of my self-application of Zincofax as a toddler, however, it has held up to my various abuses remarkably well. I suspect it would survive the apocalypse, should that ever happen. (Orange was the "in colour" for babies when I was due.)

Carpet #2 to be ripped out:
Not only does it have holes, it also seems to be missing a section:
On the bright side, it looks like the subfloor might be good enough that I can just paint it for now. We'll see how it looks at the seams. On the down side, dad hasn't shifted enough junk for me to do this room yet:
I need to replace some drywall in this room too:
There was a leak in the roof previously. Dad says it's been fixed, but I need to tear out the affected drywall and insulation and replace it.

This carpet is staying:
It's fairly new (relatively speaking)... I think it was put in in the 80's. (Previously there was bright blue carpet that was great for sliding down the stairs on, but was exceedingly worn out. The blue carpet was there when my parents bought the place, and was in the living room and dining room too. They waited to tear it out and refinish the hardwood floors until after my younger brother was old enough to stop throwing food on the floor. The stairs and upper hall took longer to get replaced.)

It's amazing how the familiar creak of the stairs you grew up with says "home".

I offered to let dad take the wood from these shelves, as they're unpainted particle board, and thus will be hard to dust:
However, dad thinks they should stay, and I should paint them (like he meant to). He suggested I turn the shelves upside down, so that they warp back the other way. I suppose that taking them out would leave gaps in the carpet.

*sigh*... The hardwood floors on the main floor really do need refinishing:
Do I want to tackle that before I move in, or later?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Constructive Destruction

Sometimes you *need* to do something with visible results. Today was one of those days. The weeds growing in my start-of-a-garden (and all of the other weeds too, of course) and the flopping raspberry canes were bothering me. So I decided to do something about them. I forgot to take "before" photos of the rasberries... you'll have to use your imagination based on the size of "removed stuff" piles.

Raspberries, trained neatly to the fence:

Some of dad's junk that I had to extract from the raspberries (why do I keep forgetting the "p" in "raspberries" today?), and dumped in the middle of the driveway:
(Maybe if it's there, dad will remember to remove it?) There's more junk by the raspberries, but it was either heavier than I could lift, or not something that will be a problem to get out later. (This stuff was either between the raspberries and the fence, or the raspberries were growing *through* holes in it... I think I did this early enough in the season that even if I lost some leaves and branches, more should grow back.)

Here's a shot showing the pile of dead canes (much compressed by stomping, etc) and the raspberries that I still need to train:
That reminds me... I also pruned a few branches on the shrub, and cut down several weed trees, including an oak! (First time I found an oak weed tree! it was only a bit over a centimeter in diameter, but as tall as the fence.)

I also pulled a few weeds.
(This pile completely filled one trash can.)

And I pulled a few weeds.
(I don't think this photo really gets across the size of the pile. For an idea of "before", scroll up to the junk pile photo, and look at the carpet of dandelions to the right of it.)

Did I mention that I pulled a few weeds?
This bunch came from in and around my start-of-a-garden... which I did remember a before photo of:
(Look! Garlic growing!!! And other stuff! And not *too* many weeds!)

Yes, I pulled a few weeds:

Amazingly, I only made a tiny dent on the weeds. (Anyone else feel the need for visible progress and exercise?)

I discovered I could hang the pruners on the chain link fence in such a way that it was convenient for slicing off pieces of the green cotton yarn I was using to tie up the canes.
(The non-sharp side is hooked around the fence, so it isn't damaging the blade.) Added benefit: I put fewer holes in my gloves after I figured this out.

Hmmm... I think this is slug damage:
(Do slugs like garlic?) I think I need to put out a dish of beer.

Also, raspberries bite back:
By the time I was done, I was well scratched up, and *filthy*. The shower afterwards was sooooo gooood! :)

I'm glad I finished when I did. About an hour later the sky opened up and dumped *buckets* of rain, pea sized hail, and thunder so loud I thought the neighbour was parking his motorcycle between the apartment buildings again.

For some reason, I'm feeling kind of achey, and my fingers hurt. :P

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunday Dinner

My brother now appears at Sunday dinners via a magic moving picture on a thin screen. We got a tour of his new apartment too.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cleaning Out The House

Hey, I remember making this:
What's it doing in the kitchen? (Uh... 25(?) years later?!?) It's a cute little thing, but since white glue is water soluble, not terribly useful. (White glue is making the seal between the straw and the cup.) Photo for old time's sake, then trash.

Heh... another vintage item:
I don't know how full it was when it was put in the cupboard, but it had completely evaporated even though fully closed. I didn't try opening it, to see if there were any fumes left. Somehow, I like imagining it being sold as a bottle full of imaginary cleaner with a pouffy brush... I didn't upload the photo of the brush through the jar, because it was a bit hard to make out. Here's a side shot:
Uh... "non inflammable"? Is that a typo, or intentionally misleading? Hee! A typo on a type cleaner bottle! (Hmmm... turns out *I'm* the one mistaken.) This thing is funny enough (and small enough) that I'm letting it stay for a bit.

Asbestos debate:
Is this plaster the type that does or does not contain asbestos? It's on the early end of the time range I've been reading about, I think before most of the cited dates.
How about this stucco ceiling? It's on the late end of the time range for asbestos-containing stucco.

My mom is so awesome, I don't know that I deserve her. Want to know how she spent mother's day?
Cleaning a soon-to-be-mine kitchen that has been used by two bachelors for 20 years. (And no, she's not the compulsive cleaning type. She did this because she loves me.)
These are all the cupboards she scrubbed inside and out, plus the fridge (including behind the fridge) and the broom closet (granted the broom closet shelves got a quick wipe, rather than a dousing of Fantastic plus a hearty scrub).

There's more cupboards, but six hours of cleaning on Mother's day is more than enough for even super-moms.

Did you spot that vacuum cleaner in the photo with my mom? See how nice and shiny new it is? The other day I asked if I could borrow mom's for the initial cleaning of the house. (The other option was to use the older-than-me vacuums dad and my brother left behind.) Guess what I got for a housewarming present?!? (Besides the cleaning... and a 100 pack of trash bags, and a combo pack of Fantastic in a spray bottle plus a ginormous jug to refill it.)

Thank you mom. You're the *best*.

(I also got a brand-new wheelbarrow that doubles as a dolly from my grandma!)

What was I doing while my mom was cleaning?
Marking. (I couldn't decide if I wanted the dust mask for the dust, or the respirator for the Fantastic fumes. I went for the dust mask, although I suspect I would have been better off with the respirator.) Yes, I'm planing on living in a place that currently has me wearing masks.

When I looked up, this is what I saw:
I'm pretty sure I can see the outline of where the deer's head used to hang above the fireplace. (Soot? grime? Mom's answer was "yes".)

Speaking of old things, remember when phones were just phones?
(And owned by the phone company? For some reason, though, they didn't want them back when they started allowing people to buy their own.) Yep, this one still works. (I think that clear knob is for selecting which line... we had a dual line phone!) Dad took his more modern phones with him, but left this one behind so that calls could still be made & received here before I move in.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


This is the house I will be moving into:
It has a lot of potential, but needs a lot of work. It was built in 1912, purchased by my parents in... um... 1974ish(?), and has just had my dad and/or brother living in it since 1993.

I haven't visited it much lately, since my dad is living in his new place, and I see my brother at the family dinner every week at mom's. I went for a walk-about tonight.

Something tells me the plumbing from the garburator leaks:

Um... isn't it a good idea to leave floor joists intact underneath bathtubs?
(Rather than removing one, and drilling the one next to it full of large holes?)

Sometimes my dad finds it useful to make a hole in a wall:
(Less often does he find it convenient to patch the hole.) There used to be a piece of wallpaper sitting in front of the hole to hide it, but it looks like it went missing in the past nineteen or so years. (Note: The hole is older than 19 years, but I'm pretty sure the wallpaper cover was still there 19 years ago.)

More adventures in home renovations to come...

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Art Show

Raffi came to visit, but has returned home, and Mylo went with him. However, during my "demo", I finished Asia (In A Box):
A proper photo and a gloss coat, and she'll be done. Now I get to enjoy her until the fall show, where she'll actually be for sale! (Assuming no one beats down my door before then, of course.)

Apparently someone was quite disappointed yesterday that Mylo wasn't for sale.

Thursday, May 03, 2012


FYI for friends who keep in touch via my blog: I'll be moving by the end of June... if you need my new mailing address, send me an e-mail.