Thursday, October 8, 2009

The ladder family















How many ladders do two women need to put a new roof on a woodshed? Apparently the answer is "Five!" Two extension ladders, two regular ladders and one little step ladder that aspires to bigger things.

Today is Kim's 50th birthday, and it has been a perfect day. We have been replacing the roof on the woodshed, and that occupied most of our day. It took us two days to remove the old cedar shingles and rotten plywood and haul it all to the dump, and today we got to begin putting on the new. We have opted for metal roofing, partly for its durability but mostly because we couldn't figure out how to haul full sheets of plywood up that high, which would be necessary if we used asphalt shingles. Metal roofing is more expensive, and has to be specially ordered to fit, but it only requires 1x4 strapping, not plywood. By the time we lost the best light today and were ready to go in for some supper, the strapping was done and the first metal sheet had been attached.

How does that make a perfect day? For me it was because today was most like my dream of what our life would be like, of any day we have had so far: the air was crisp, the sun was shining, and my sweetie and I were working together on a challenging project that used our brains and our muscles. There were lots of smiles all around today.















The chief purpose of fall in the country seems to be getting ready for winter. All over the neighbourhood people are laying in their supply of winter wood - most homes around here use wood stoves as at least one of the sources of heat, if not the primary source.There has been a lot of competition for "The Log Boss," the hydraulic log splitter we rented in the spring. We did manage to snag it for a few days in the middle of last week - one of the benefits of not having Monday to Friday jobs! It took two days to finish splitting all the wood from the trees we had taken down in the spring. Not only is our woodshed now packed, we also have six-foot high cribs all over. We think we probably split a total of six or seven cords, far more than we will need this winter. It will be an adventure to see how long we can go without turning on the electric baseboard heaters!















Our summer vegetable garden has officially been laid to rest, with the last holdout (the Kentucky Wonder pole beans) being pulled up a few days ago. Our makeshift root cellar (really just an unheated storage room in the basement) is holding our potatoes, winter squash (spaghetti, butternut and buttercup), garlic, onions and the produce we canned. The freezer in the workshop is almost full with more produce, as well as apple crisps and pies we made from the Pink Lady apples. We still have almost a tree full of Cox Orange Pippin apples. Some branches hang so low Frankie can reach up to snag one with his teeth - they are his substitute ball when he can't find a real one.

The nice thing about growing food here in Lotus Land is that the end of summer doesn't have to mean the end of the garden. We are already eating our winter crops of carrots, beets, rutabagas, spinach, chard and salad greens. Some of those, especially the more delicate greens, have to be under cover as the nighttime temperatures are within a few degrees of freezing. We're using floating row covers (sort of like thin fabric that just gets laid over top), poly tunnels and cold frames that fit right overtop of the raised beds. We have also planted some flats of salad greens that can be moved into the greenhouse if it really gets cold.















Some of you may not know that we had a close call with Petunia on the Labour Day weekend. She was mauled by an unknown dog, and we didn't find her until she was already in shock. Fortunately our new vet met us at the clinic, even though it was past 11 pm, and took wonderful care of her. She had surgery the next day, and spent a few more days in the hospital, but is now fully mended - she still has a few shaved patches that haven't fully grown in, but that just means her belly is beautifully, peach-fuzzedly soft to rub. When she came home from the hospital we got her a special new cat bed, which we moved down to the family room once she was feeling well enough to want to be social. Unfortunately there seemed to be some confusion between her and Frankie about which bed was actually whose...




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