Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nearly Gone

When we moved to our acreage in '99 there was a lot of work to be done.  The house had been built 20 years earlier, and nothing had ever been fixed, so far as we could see.  None of the rooms had been repainted; the carpet was still the original 70's orange and brown shag, and the leak in the kitchen ceiling was dealt with by means of an ice cream bucket placed on top of the cupboards to catch the drips.

There was an old garage about 150 ft from the house, crudely built by placing the walls directly on the ground.  An old ramshackle barn worthy of being demolished was dealt with when we hired someone to push it over with their bobcat.  An old workshop had a cement slab floor so that was worth saving.  We reshingled the roof, insulated the walls, put in a ceiling and covered the walls with rough sawn spruce.  That became our Sales Building.  The old garage received a foundation, was divided into two rooms, double insulated with no windows, the "car" door removed and replaced with one "people" door.  That became our cold storage building.

We built three greenhouses over the years, plus a good sized quonsett and a workshop.  The place is unrecognizable.

The only landscaping on the place was a shelter belt with four rows of Saskatoon bushes and three rows of about six foot high spruce trees, set several yards north of the house.  The lack of landscaping was a good thing, because it allowed Jim to gradually evolve a landscape full of trees, shrubs and perennials that now looks attractive in any season.  Even today, with the snow covering the ground, the spruce trees, the red and yellow stem dogwoods and the silvery Russian Olives lend lots of colour and interest to the grounds.

The house went through extensive renovation: a new roof, new floors and new windows, a solar space added beneath the exterior balcony.  One of the additions was a new garage, sharing the north wall of the house, but without direct access.  Jim really didn't want to knock any holes in the walls!  And a small addition to the garage is a little lean-to garbage shed on the north side, well away from the back entrance.

Living in the country means recycling.  We compost all our organic waste, visit the bottle depot to redeem all our beverage containers, and a few times a year we go to our local recycling depot with our glass, tin cans, newspapers and magazines, and most plastics.  The few things we can't deal with in those ways are deposited in our garbage shed, where there are four big plastic garbage cans.

Once or twice a year we have to make a trip to the dump to get rid of whatever has landed in the garbage shed.  It was time on Saturday to make that trip, so Jim got out the van (a really dirty old thing that is used to transport trees, etc.) and loaded up.  Just before he left he asked about a bag in the back hall, and I said, Yes, that needs to go along, and also those boots.

About three years ago I bought a cheap pair of winter boots from Walmart.  Last year the zipper came apart, not just unstitched, but the coil of the zipper parted company with the tape.  Unfixable, unless you are a shoemaker and have the right sort of sewing machine to replace the zippers in a pair of boots.  I was still using them, not having any others for walking in deep snow.  Thursday we were in the city and I bought another pair of cheap boots from Walmart--these don't have zippers, they just pull on.

I also have a few pair of very good, leather boots, including one pair of Reikers that I bought last year for $145.  I really enjoy those boots.  They fit perfectly, look elegant and, being just above the ankle, are very versatile.  I wear them a lot this time of the year, provided I'm not going to be walking through much snow.  They were also in the back hall, and, significantly, were on the dryer right beside the bag of trash.

I was busy at the sewing machine, working on finishing a project when Jim left.  Suddenly I had a thought: Did he take the old boots, on the floor by the door, or my dearly loved Reikers?  I went to the back hall and saw the dreadful truth: The Reikers were gone, and the old, broken boots were still there!!!  I quickly slipped into my clogs and RAN down the driveway, hoping, hoping, hoping he hadn't left!!!

Thank goodness he was still there, brushing the snow off the van!  The Reikers were on the front seat.  I was able to retrieve them!  If he had left, it would have been curtains for those boots.  He doesn't carry a cell phone, and would have been unreachable.  I felt quite shaken for the next while, thinking how easily that mistake was made and feeling very grateful that I was able to catch him before he left.

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