Sunroom Reno 2019 (Part Two)

September 9 (Day 8)
The Styrofoam-insulated foundation walls are mostly in place after today. One more row to go, and some tweaking with the laser level, and they’ll be ready for the concrete, tomorrow or the next day. Some wet days ahead, looks like, so fingers crossed.

Foam Insulated Foundation Walls 2019-09-09 11.20.13

September 10 (Day 9)
By the end of day 9, the insulated walls of the foundation now appear to be ready for pouring concrete. The Styrofoam walls are at final height, the opening for the crawlspace door is framed and braced, the whole structure is leveled and braced, and a walkway is ready for human oversight of the concrete being poured down into the opening. Presumably tomorrow, weather permitting.

Insulated Foundation Ready for Concrete 2019-09-10 16.32.13

September 11 (Day 10)
Today, the Styrofoam-insulated foundation walls had their cement poured. Sadly, we were out of the house at the time (they came early) so we missed the photogenic drama of a giant articulating arm flying in the cement OVER the house and down into the walls. In other words, no pictures. (Sad face emoji)

More Cement 2019-09-11 13.02.52

One of the reasons we missed the pouring of the cement from over the roof is that we went out to order the solid vinyl flooring we had in mind. As often happens though, we hit a snag. The widest roll was not quite wide enough, and it would have meant ordering twice as much, and wasting almost half of it. We decided, after considering several options, to go with these vinyl planks. They look disturbing realistic, like weathered barn wood, but they’re vinyl and about an eighth of an inch thick. Bit more expensive than the full sheet, but way cheaper than having to buy TWO full sheets. Also, we can order only as much as we need, and apparently, single planks can, through the application of heat, be removed and replaced if they get wrecked. We brought home a couple of samples, and seeing it in situ we’ve landed on the darker barn board-looking choice.

Flooring Choices 2019-09-11 16.01.19

Laundry room: A part of the overall sunroom project will be a facelift for our little laundry room. The vinyl flooring from the old sunroom was recovered and will be re-used in the laundry room and back stairs. The horrible and ancient cabinet over the washer and dryer, which was hanging by a thread, was removed and will be repurposed in the shed, where it will hang by stronger threads if I do it right. New light fixtures in the laundry room and downstairs hall. And, in work that began and mostly finished today, the window in the laundry room moves a foot or so to the east, to allow for the slightly offset (from its original footprint) east wall of the new sunroom. Sorry, didn’t get before and after pictures.

September 12 (Day 11)
Work continued on the laundry room today. The drywall was replaced around the recently-moved window and the appliances were disconnected and moved into the garage.

2019-09-12 17.02.47

2019-09-12 17.03.44

Meanwhile, the upper part of the foundation wall (the part that remains above-grade) was sanded and a mesh applied. I think this is to help the final coat of parging to adhere to the wall.

2019-09-12 10.40.00
2019-09-12 17.05.58

September 13 (Day 12)
No pictures today… Work was done only in the laundry room, which is even emptier than yesterday as several layers of old flooring was ripped up (not a quiet process!) and some initial mudding of the walls. They will be back for a while tomorrow to do some parging on the foundation walls.

September 14 (Day 13)
A short day today (Saturday) – they just added the second (final) coat of parging to the outside walls of the foundation. No work on the laundry room, so it was a blissfully noise-free day.

Parging - 2nd coat - 2019-09-14 12.20.45

Sunroom Reno 2019 (Part One)

Aug. 16 thru Sep. 6

PANO Sunroom and Patio BEFORE Reno

August 16, 2019
We’ve been getting ready to start a fairly major renovation… the sunroom is coming down. Mainly because it’s sinking into the ground due to having been cheaply and shoddily built in the first place by the previous owner.

Crooked Windows (BEFORE Sunroom Reno)

The most obvious symptom of the problem is the fact that the front of the room (the part not attached to the house) is slowly sinking into the garden, leaving our windows trapezoidal in shape, with a sizeable gap where the wind comes whistling down the escarpment and into the house. Come winter we have to fill the gap with extra chunks of foam insulation strips. Also (not shown) the plaster is cracking where the wall joins the house, and the side door is so out of square as to be pretty much unusable.

Sunroom BEFORE Reno

Lynda has been busily rescuing plants from the sunroom garden, with my help as needed, replanting elsewhere or into pots.

UPDATE: Aug. 24 – Today the grapevine came down. Kind of sad, it was having an especially good year, conditions for grapes were very good, it would have been a banner year for jelly or chutney. We hope to replant it to the right of the patio so it’s not all smushed up against the house like it has been. It’s currently planted underneath the stairs. Hopefully the digger can dig it out of there after the stairs come down.
(photo by Lynda)

After Cutting Down Grapevine

Update: Aug. 27 (Reno Day 1)
Today the contractors arrived to start demolition of the sunroom. The vinyl floor was liberated for reuse in the laundry room, and the drywall (inside) and the siding (outside) was liberated for reuse in the landfill.

Sunroom Reno Day 1 (exterior)
Sunroom Reno Day 1 (10-shot Pano interior)

Update Aug. 29-30 (Reno Day 2-3)
Demolition of the existing sunroom continues today and tomorrow. They’re very systematic about it, no surprises so far. Lots of trips with hunks of our home in wheelbarrows moved around front and heaved into the giant Dumpster in our driveway (turn left at the Porta-Potty, not shown). Lots of reciprocating saws and sledgehammers and pry bars taking the place apart, stick by stick.

Note that all photos in this series are hosted on Flickr in the Sunroom Reno 2019 album.

Sunroom Reno Day 2 IMG_1706

One of the first things we had to do was move my precious pergola (it has held up well, unlike its ill-fated predecessor) out of the way, back down the lawn.

Sunroom Reno Day 2 IMG_1708

Sunroom Reno Day 2 IMG_1711
Sunroom Reno Day 2 IMG_1709

Sunroom Reno Day 3 IMG_1714
Sunroom Reno Day 3 IMG_1715

Down to the ground! Well done, just in time for the long weekend! (Those of you with actual jobs can relate). Seen in the photo below, and as Brad is about to point out in the photo above, is the bottom of one of the support posts that was holding up the sunroom. It was just sitting in the dirt, slowly rotting away. No wonder the sunroom was sinking. Not exactly up to snuff, building code-wise.

Sunroom Reno Day 3 IMG_1716

Update: Sept. 3-4 (Day 4-5)
The last couple of days have involved finishing demolition of the sunroom and removing the debris (the enormous rubbish bin has now been removed from our driveway) and starting (and ALMOST finishing) the digging of the hole to receive the foundation.

Our grapevine, having been pruned back to almost nothing in order to be able to get the pergola out, is the last thing standing, and the first to feel the teeth of the Bobcat. It has been replanted not far from here. Note the still undisturbed and cleanly raked topsoil in the background, soon to be very much NOT undisturbed.

The Once and Future Grapevine

The Bobcat in action, Brad at the helm:

The cellphone pano below shows the nearly completed hole, and the mountains of dirt still needing to be trucked away. Probably three times this amount has already been removed, but it did not quite get completed in one day, as hoped.

Foundation Hole

Update: Sept. 5-6 (Day 6-7)
The week culminates at a logical stopping point, with the pouring of the concrete footings.

Footings Almost Done 2019-09-05 12.28.59
Ready to Pour 2019-09-05 15.05.52
Pouring Cement 2019-09-06 12.00.26
Pouring Cement 2019-09-06 12.12.18

I’ll start a new post on Monday, this one’s getting a bit long…

Ringneck Pheasant

This handsome fellow announced his presence by tap-tap-tapping on the basement window, no doubt challenging his reflection. We’ve had a robin do that a couple of times as well. It’s a spring thing.

IMG_0877-Ringneck Pheasant

IMG_0873-Ringneck Pheasant

(Click photos to view larger on Flickr)

Rec Room Reno

Reno starts tomorrow. Cody enjoys the wide open spaces and the no doubt fragrant carpet. Meanwhile in the rest of the house, we’re living like hoarders. Reno starts tomorrow. Carpet will probably be the first thing to go.

Reno Starts Tomorrow

After week one of the rec room reno, everything that is being ripped out has been ripped out, holes that need patching have been patched, the dust has literally settled and painting has begun. Next week, painting will get finished and a new panel box will be built. All this in a timely and professional way by skilled craftsmen who are not me.

After Week One

After week two, rec room reno is nearly done, just waiting for the carpet to be installed. You can’t tell from the photos, but trust me, it’s a hell of an improvement, floor to ceiling.

After Week Two

We have carpet …aaand we’re done… well, apart from moving all the furniture back in… no easy task… Cody gave the new carpet a good sniff, and he looked at one point like he might want to pee on it, but we kept him distracted and the urge passed. We hope.

We Have Carpet

Peanut Feeder

Our new Squirrel Buster peanut feeder is a hit with the Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, and Nuthatches. Haven’t got photos of the woodpecker yet, but he’ll be back. Chickadees are around a lot, but for the moment it’s the Nuthatch show.

Scroll down for short video.

IMG_0798 Nuthatch at Peanut Feeder (square crop)

IMG_0794 Nuthatch at Peanut Feeder (square crop)

IMG_0791 Nuthatches at Peanut Feeder

IMG_0780 Nuthatch at Peanut Feeder

IMG_0773 Nuthatch at Peanut Feeder


We’re laying new electrical cable re-instate power to the shed. As with digging the fence post holes, rocks were a big factor…

(Scroll down for video)


New Fence

We decided we needed to replace the last remaining section of the crappy falling-down ugly fence that encloses the Back Forty. If we moved the whole thing forward (toward the house) about 10 feet, we could make the new section a straight run joining the existing two ends of the good fence, and avoid the obstacles that the old fence had to deal with. Here are some crappy cellphone photos documenting that process. (We had a contractor for this.)

Below is the before picture looking west, where the flagstone path will intersect the line of the new fence and gate. in the background some of the old crappy fence can be seen. We did not tear that down yet, as we still needed to keep the dog contained.

Before - Path at new Gate Location

A string provides a reference to line up the holes. That short section of fence behind the blue chairs will remain, to define that corner, but it will no longer join the old crappy fence.

Stringline + First Hole

The first hole dug revealed a surprise: some kind of drainage pipe heading away from the house, probably coinnected to the weeping tile. We have never known of any drainage heading that way. It made us need to adjust the post hole location a little, and in fact another of the holes revealed another drainage pipe, running parallel to the first. No wonder the Back 40 can get kind of soggy in the low spots.

First Hole with pipe

One thing we did predict was this. Me: “How long will it take to dig the holes?” Contractor: “Depends if we hit rocks.” Me: “Oh you WILL hit rocks…”


All Holes Dug

All holes finally dug, tubes in place ready for concrete.


The posts need to be braced in two directions so they remain perfectly vertical as the concrete is poured.

Bracing the Posts

Posts are in Concrete

Once the concrete sets and the braces come off, next come the rails.


Rails, top caps, fence boards, post caps, install the gate, and we are DONE!

Done - Looking West

Done - Gate

Done - East Section (from South Side)

Done - West Section (from South Side)

Done - Gate Looking East

Killarney Park, 1988 (new scans)

I just bought a new Canon scanner (CanoScan LiDE 220, it says here) and set about to test its photo scanning capability. I found these prints in an album, they’re from 1988. This was one of my earliest solo “interior” camping trips (I put that in quotes because while it was technically interior, the George Lake campsites require no portages.)

Killarney Provincial Park, in general, of all the many several places I’ve been, is one of my favourite places on the planet.

Click any photo to view larger on Flickr

1988 Canoe POV George Lake Killarney

1988 George Lake Killarney

1988 View From the Canoe George Lake Campsite Killarney

1988 Overlooking George Lake Killarney

1988 Under the Tarp George Lake Campsite Killarney

1988 Campfire and Canoe George Lake Killarney

1988 Chikanishing Creek Exit to Georgian Bay Killarney

Here’s a relaxing video (not mine) shot on George Lake:

video URL: