Category Archives: Around the House

Bell vs Garbage Can Lid

I stepped out into the workshop for less than one hour. When I came back into the house, I immediately noticed the small garbage can in the laundry room was tipped over. It normally only holds lint from the dryer, but this time it also happened to hold the remains of an empty can of goldfish food, which is apparently also of interest to dogs. I went to set things right, but soon realized the garbage can lid was missing. Oh wait, there it is. Around Bell’s neck. She may be old and feeble, but she’s not beyond a few hijinx…

Bell vs Garbage Can Lid

Run For Your Lives!

I was out for final pee of the night with the doggies last night, in the middle of the ice storm, under our enormous willow tree, when I heard a large CRACK like a rifle shot. I threw my hands over my head, so as not to get killed, and Cody ran for the gate, Bell and I right behind.(Bell is deaf, so she probably didn’t understand the urgency). We skedaddled in time, but literally five seconds after we made good our escape, on the path back to the house we heard ANOTHER loud crack. This morning we saw the evidence, two rather large branches came down RIGHT WHERE WE WERE STANDING!!! (You’d “shout” too if you were me). Oy.

Run For Your Lives!

Neighbour’s whole tree came down in the ice storm. Fortunately it was leaning into the open area of his yard, and not the other way, which would have taken out our fence and sheds.

Neighbour's Tree

More photos:

Encased 1

Fence

Encased 2

Encased 3

Shrub and Pond

Stone Geese

Lynda came home from an auction recently with these two new additions for our little pond. Or for the shore nearby, at least. They’d sink like cement in the actual pond, since that’s what they’re made of.

Stone Geese

Bell, as with most things at this point in her life, is largely indifferent to the newcomers.

Bell and Stone Geese

Cody, however, is still not quite sure about them. I missed the excitement this morning, but Lynda says he was actually shivering as he struggled to understand these motionless (but otherwise quite lifelike) intruders.

Cody and Stone Geese

Mama Mallard and the Seven Ducklings

Mama Mallard and the Seven Ducklings

Today we heard the telltale quack of a duck, but closer to the house than usual. Mama Mallard was making her way slowly along our garden path en route to our little pond in the back forty where the ducks more often hang out. She had a herd of little fuzzballs with her, and by the time I got my camera they arrived at the pond.

There are seven little duck puppies for now, let’s hope the local cat doesn’t deplete their numbers…

Video url: https://youtu.be/7Jj7sKOVVbo

Pondscaping

Pond Pano (previous)
(Click any photo to view larger on Flickr)

Our little pond has (or had) a “deep end” and a “shallow end” with a small island in the middle, accessed by a deathtrap of a gangplank bridge. The pond would typically spend the last 6 weeks or so of summer somewhere between almost empty and completely dried up. This led us (mostly Lynda) to think seriously about getting it lined.

The island was always the obstacle to that plan… you would have to cut the liner to get it around the island (there is a decent sized tree on the island so you couldn’t just cut a donut hole and drop it over the top). An obstacle, that is, until we talked to Ken Hutten at Hutten Landscaping, who had the idea to divide it into essentially two ponds, line the deep end only, and let it overflow into the shallow end if it needs to. Even if (when) the shallow end dries up, the deep end should still have lots of water. This involved connecting the island to the shore on two sides, with berms formed with the dirt dug out to make the deep end deeper.

The first step was removing the old “dock”, and cleaning up Kitsch Island before the crew arrived. I was able to do that part. I like demolition, and this was probably my last demo for a while, we’ve torn everything else down already that needs tearing down:

Dock Demolition (1)

The crew arrived on Thursday morning with a Bobcat and a Dingo (construction machines have awesome names) which could be heard almost constantly over the next two days.

Pondscaping 3 - Dingo

This video shows them deepening the deep end with the Bobcat and transferring material with the Dingo:

The first materials the crew brought with them were sand and topsoil, used to prepare the site to accept the liner:

Pondscaping 1 - Sand and soil

Pondscaping 2 - The first layer

Once there is a decent layer of sand, next comes a layer of landscaping fabric, then the actual liner, then another layer of fabric. The fabric layers protect the liner from objects in contact above and below:

Pondscaping 4 - More layers

On the top layer of fabric, the Bobcat (with its fancy new sideways-tilting bucket) skillfully places the river rocks, the final layer:

Bell admires the completed project:

Pondscaping 5 - River rock

All that remains is to clean up and repair the lawn where the machines chewed it up. They brought lots more topsoil for this:

Pondscaping 6 - Repairing the lawn

They relaid the slabs where our Muskoka chairs go, improving on the pattern while they were at it. The dogs approve:

Pondscaping 7 - Replacing the slabs

Literally the moment the crew left, the skies opened up and a rainstorm of historic proportions filled the pond in about an hour:

Pondscaping 8 - DONE

With only a few loose ends to deal with, I’d have to say this was a pretty successful project, executed with professional precision by a fantastic crew, and a real pleasure to watch from the safety of the sidelines as it all fell into place.

(All photos by me except the last one by Lynda Chiotti).