Monday, September 21, 2009

Home Alone

Well not quite. Still have my Sweetie Pie, six cats, two dogs, eight chickens and a stray pack rat which is driving the dogs to distraction. Yet it feels wonderfully alone. I just spent 5000 kilometers on a road trip with a couple of 80 year olds. A very interesting experience. Got to learn a little more about my family's history. I find it fascinating to listen to people who have lived through the depression and dirty thirty's. An Economic down turn wasn't not being able to afford a big screen T.V. but not being able to afford food. Downsizing wasn't moving to a condo but a granary. Not that I wish that experience on anybody-- but I think it placed them in good stead for today's "economic down turn". They grow veggies and flowers, make nourishing soups and live a self sufficient life that they share with others. I think they should put a college course on. My generation, and our thirty-somethings who are back living at Mom and Dad's could learn a thing or two. Or is it un-learn?

We dropped by the old homestead in Melville Saskatchewan. I am always amazed at how the sky touches the ground in all directions. Disconcerting for someone who is used to bumps in the earth. This was an an old barn probably a 100 years old. There is another built similarly, still standing and in use, just down the road.
I spent some time having a wonderful conversation with a spry 90 year old, now retired. He was explaining how the farms have got huge by necessity. Combines don't come cheap, and the margins are small. He was even mentioning a tractor that doesn't have a driver. Well a human driver.

Progress goes on. While I was away, Jo-Ann discovered the local post office has ceased operation on the weekend. It used to be open a half day on Saturday - but now. Doesn't happen. The thing is you can pay next day delivery prices on Friday and a parcel or letter won't actually get to where you want it to go for three or even four days. Don't get me started, but I suspect the post office is in the well documented throws of a death spiral. Service gets poorer because revenues are down which makes service poorer which...I notice a local restaurant going through the throws. Crappier food, less customers...

I see some of the financial genius's who missed the train wreck of this "economic downturn" are now predicting that it's bouncing back. I don't believe it for a second. I am investing in potatoes.

Before I left on the trip I was mentioning that some good friends of ours dropped by. They were a lot of fun and a great help. We knocked off a bunch of projects that would have taken a lot longer by myself.

One project was getting the chimney weather tight. I installed it last winter from the inside as I couldn't find my crampons to get up on the roof. When we got that job done I was feeling "on top of the world". Right after this we've had some heavy rains and no need for cans around the stoves to keep the drips contained.

We also worked on cutting a running trail around the place. So far I have about 3 kilometers of it done.


Another big project that was great to get done was getting the leaky drafty kitchen window replaced. We had bought a window last fall, but winter came before we got it installed. I didn't feel like having a four by four foot hole in the kitchen. The window was stacked along side the shop wall and survived the winter but fell over during a windstorm in the spring breaking an inside pane. This was the most energy efficient, and thus costly, window we could buy. Needless to say it was a bit disappointing when I saw the broken pane. Even more disappointing was contacting the manufacturer and being told they couldn't change the pane. Even went to a local glass shop and was told the only thing they could do was sell us a new window, and generously offered to let us leave the un-fixable hulk behind. I bought a piece of Lexan, some window sealant strips, we removed the broken pane, replaced it with the lexan and voila. Repaired. No drafts. Lot's of nose prints. Un- repairable my butt. I just think it's a sign of the times. We don't actually repair anything- we replace it. Our lives, well the stuff in it anyway, has become disposable. If you want to see the roots of the financial boon doggle we're in have a look there.
The outside view of the completed window. Kind of retro, but it's weather tight.


Of course it's firewood season. They helped us get that project underway. Hopefully I will get that completed this week.

This is a remnant of an old root cellar. It won't be the last one this property sees.

Ah, it's great to be home.

2 comments:

Kevin said...

The sky in the barn picture looks amazing...is that what it looks like when there is no smog?

Kev

Art Blomquist said...

Indeed it is. And the air was as clear as it looked. I grabbed a couple of garbage bags worth and will send them to you guys!

BTW: another 2 briskets are joining the one already in the freezer!