Back last fall, my husband and I decided that we were going to do some renovations inside of our house. We’ve done some small improvements over the last 9 years of living here, like painting, adding electrical to the basement, adding real doors to the master bathroom, switching out light fixtures and doing a ton of work in the yard. But we hadn’t done anything major and it was starting to show – the door leading to the side of the house was in bad shape, all the tile floors were in horrible condition and ugly and we had a non-functioning 1/2 bathroom on the main floor (it was in working order the first 4 years we lived here and then died about 5 years ago and was used as a storage closet since its death up until its recent resurrection). So we spent a few months planning and somehow managed to get my husband’s dear father to fly out from Ontario and help us rip apart the house and put it back together. So since we spent all our money on that, we felt like maybe we should probably do the responsible thing and not go on a vacation this year. I will admit that it is a little disappointing for me – the last couple of years we’ve been doing a drive down to Washington and Oregon and spending a week in Portland where I can dream about living in a city where people grow vegetables in the hell strip and keep chickens in their front yards. Sigh, oh well. So instead I decided to take 3 weeks off of my job and get some stuff done around the house.
The first few days were spent doing boring adult things, such as cleaning the house, doing laundry and taking my car in for servicing. How exciting. Then we took 4 days to drive through Saskatchewan into Manitoba for a family reunion for my husband’s step family. On our way to Manitoba, we made a detour in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan to eat at a friend’s restaurant called Harvest. The meal was amazing and afterwards we got a night time tour of the Historic Shaunavon Hotel – which we were told may or may not be haunted (unfortunately we did not experience any paranormal activity ourselves). The most exciting part of the tour was just hearing some of the history of the hotel – there was a bootlegging operation there at one time! The rest of the weekend was good as well – we got to experience some real Ukrainian tradition, mostly through food, got lots of family visiting in and had some really nice weather (people kept apologizing for the “crappy” weather (typical Canadians apologizing for things out of their control), but frankly it was nice to have some cool overcast days after the heat we’ve had in Calgary). I can’t say the drive was particularly exciting – my favorite parts were seeing the mustard and flax fields.
Now back home, I have two weeks left of my stay-cation and lots of things to do, especially around the garden. It is a bit of a jungle out in the back yard and I need to deal with it immediately. I haven’t done any weeding for weeks and those hoses strewn all over the yard are going to seriously injure someone. I have a few obstacles that I need to address though:
#1. It is so hot outside that I don’t have any desire to step foot in the yard past 11am.
#2. We have some temporary but horrible neighbors living next door who have decided that instead of taking out their garbage, they would prefer to chuck it out their patio into the back yard and let the magpies have a garbage feast. So that is pleasant. The garbage is truly the tip of the iceberg but the good news is that they will be gone at the end of August so I really only need to deal with their horrible-ness for another month.
#3. I’m leaving my husband for a few days during the long weekend to escape to my sister’s place near Edmonton where we will build bird houses, enjoy the air conditioner in her house and visit Devonian Gardens (yay, finally!).
Putting all of that negativity aside, I have some real ambitions for the next couple of weeks:
– Head out to the Saskatoon Farm for berry picking. The one thing a year that I love the most and my husband hates the most (besides Christmas).
– Finish staining the fence. This has apparently turned into a four year project.
– Drastically trim back the lilac bush in the front. This lilac is a monster that we severely cut back annually but it just grows back the next year even bigger. It currently tries to murder you as you walk up the front steps and likes to annoy pizza delivery people by hiding our house number.
– Paint the wheelbarrow. The poor rusty wheelbarrow.
– Purchase, stain and install privacy lattice to attach to the fence. Back to the awful neighbors that I would like to pretend do not exist. Of course, I’ll still be able to hear them, but the less I see them, the better. I’d also like to plant some alpine clematis to grow up this lattice to provide even more privacy.
– Finishing laying cardboard and cedar mulch on the front beds.
– Top up the cedar mulch in the back garden (obviously I’m getting a huge truckload of cedar mulch delivered)
– Clean & organize the shed. You currently can’t see the floor.
– Clean & organize the bottom of the greenhouse and possibly plant a few things in there for the fall garden.
– Squirrel proof my bird feeder pole and install the bird feeders. The pole is up, but no feeders yet.
– Install a few decor items (I have a rain chain that I got for Christmas last year and some other things waiting to go up).
– Paint the front door.
– Plant two new trees in the back yard. I’m thinking another dwarf sour cherry and a columnar crab apple. This one is dependent on my wallet.
– Repair the rain barrel. It decided to crack during one of the huge rain storms in June and I haven’t bother to fix it yet.
– Work on finishing up some final touches on the indoor renovations I mentioned earlier. We have some painting to do, installing the light fixture, mirror and hardware, and putting up the baseboards and other moldings – you know, easy stuff (not).
Of course in my imaginary world I get all of these things done and more. But reality is usually a different story – what with the Netflix and the afternoon naps and all. Since I love to make to-do lists and pretend that we have all the time and money in the world, here are some of the “more” things I imagine I would get done:
– Build a “catio”. I really hate the term catio. Thank you, Jackson Galaxy. Anyway, we live on a busy street and therefore I keep my cats locked in the house at all times and they secretly (or not so secretly) resent me for it. So I’d love to build a little fenced in area where they can hang out in. Ideally, it would be attached to the basement window so they can go in and out as they please.
– Rip out the remainder of the sod in the front yard and install some more raised beds for vegetable growing. Yes, I want to be one of those weirdos growing kale and squash in my front yard.
– Build a new front porch and front walkway.
– Build a privacy pergola in the back yard on the deck.
– Put together a little sitting area at the side/front of the house – a little gazebo or something would be amazing.
– Build a raised bed cold frame (I have a spare polycarbonate sheet left over from building the greenhouse that I kept for this specific reason).
– Build and install a window box planter for my kitchen window.
Everything on my “more” list are actually things we will probably eventually do – but we’re talking 5 year plan here. Do you ever take a stay-cation to get things done around the house? What kind of big or small projects are on your radar for this summer? Wish me luck on my crazy list of things I think I’ll be able to accomplish – I’ll be preparing a full progress report, or at least snapping some photos as little things get finished and posting them on my instagram account.