Thursday, 16 May 2019

The Dreaded List: Garage Roof

Lucy drew up the original Dreaded List. I'm not sure this item was on it, but the paper list has been largely replaced by a conceptual one. It's a bit difficult to see through the screen, but the garage roof was VERY rusty, and it has leaked for all of the 25 years we have lived here. Jo and I set to work, stripping off the old metal, replacing rotten boards, and laying down tarpaper on the first day; applying a plywood deck, a membrane, and edging on the second; and putting on the new metal on the third and final day. Estimates were good: we had enough plywood, just enough roof metal, and almost enough edging--we were 16 inches short! I ordered more from Gerald, plus some L-trim to connect the roof to the back of the house. The day after we finished--Tuesday--it began to rain. It was very strange: it has never been dry in the garage during rain before! After years of scheming about some form more in keeping with the style of the house, we settled on the old design: a single pitch shed roof. We used a long ramp to draw the metal up onto the roof. Although we were careful to lift two sheets at a time to avoid buckling (they are 14 feet long), the metal is actually stiffer than the type we used earlier, and we had little trouble with it. The first day featured intermittent rain and strong gusts of wind; the air was calmer on the second day when we brought up the bulk of the plywood, and on the third day we actually had some sun.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Springless Spring

We want for a long, bracing walk today--bracing because the wind, against us both going and coming, was quite sharp. This is the view out the study window:
Snow is still the dominant feature of the landscape. We are a week into the Carbon Tax era, and six months into winter: first snowfall was on 23 Oct., so if this holds out for two more weeks--and we are getting an additional 15cm tomorrow--it will be a demi-year of the white stuff.

Saturday, 23 March 2019


This is the fourth day of Spring! All night I heard ominous THUMPS as snow slid off the roof; I could not understand this as I drove home through the rain on Friday. The dawn brought clarity:

Monday, 4 March 2019

Endless Winter

Winter began with an early snowfall in October (on the 23rd and 27th) and has varied in intensity since, but always, always we get more and more snow. The workshop is buried: you could ski from the roof right into the Crick. At the height of it, the snowblower broke (twice, in fact: the blower belt slipped off the pulley, and the bead on tubeless tire popped during rough handling in the cold) and we lost our paths. We had to fight our way back, and of course the overnight lows had case-hardened the snow.

The tractor shed is wholly engulfed, together with the Toilet Museum. Pat piled up a 15-foot mound behind the garage; the children would have loved it!

The porch roof is so laden that yesterday when the sun came out water was forced up under the flashing and began dripping through the half-wall in the middle. We had to climb up, break through the ice (up to six inches thick), and shovel it clear. Forecast for today: MORE SNOW!

This is the roof after our efforts:

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Life Underground

This week saw some of the coldest weather this winter, with temperatures of -18 and an absolutely vicious wind. At this point, I found myself deputized to conduct an inspection of the underside of a mini-home. It looked like this:
Cramped, difficult to make anything out, and everything that might be important was hidden behind a thick vapour barrier, pierced in one or two places, by disturbing apertures. I'm astonished the water feed pipe did not freeze, to say nothing of the outside tap which didn't even have a frost-proof sill cock (at home, I installed both an internal shut-off AND a  frost-proof sill cock).  We got out as quickly as we could, boarded it back up, and heaped snow up against it (poor man's insulation). This winter seems to be filled with unseasonable tasks (including repairs to the snowblower!).

Monday, 21 January 2019

Frey Passes

This is Frey; he fell ill on Saturday afternoon, and was very weak the next morning, sleeping much of the day. On Monday morning we took him to the clinic; he had lapsed into a coma. The vet put him down. He was almost 15, a fine age for a Golden. He still accompanied us on snowshoe trips to the last week of his life, and his suffering was short. Farewell to another noble dog.

Friday, 18 January 2019


Few parts of the engine are more accessible than the alternator; typically, it is mounted near the top and the attachment is a matter of just two bolts. Unfortunately, the lower of the two is difficult to access, and the tightly packed engine compartment of a 2011 Toyota Corolla permits a ratchet wrench swing of about 20 degrees. It took 200 of those to remove the bottom bolt, which meant that a 30-minute job took an hour and a half. Also, it was cold (though not as cold as today: -23, the frostiest day so far this winter). Anyway, the little beast is out, the new one is in, and here is the wee corpse on its way back to AutoMachinery for a core refund. And with that--and a boost from my new DeWalt charger--my mother-in-law's car is back on the road. There's nothing like a bit of automechanical work in an unheated garage in January to make you appreciate . . . anything else!