Outbuilding Organization Progress

I worked all morning and then sent the client what I had for review (non-transcription project). I vegged out for a couple of hours since I had nothing else to do until the comments came in and I was bone tired. It was not nice out anyway. I did go out around 1:00 to see if I had mail (no).

Mid-afternoon, it was getting very warm in the RV since I have the dehumidifier running to dry out the under sink area and I was getting antsy, so I decided to go do some work on the sheds.

I started by demolishing the grain chute in the cabin, something I wish I had done last year, since it was very messy! I was surprised by how much bigger the cabin felt after!

After that, I just focused on that half of the cabin, moving things to the shed and garbage pile as needed. I set up a pallet in the corner and stacked storage bins on it, then set up the table between the pallet and the washing machine.

The storage needs for the shed are becoming clear as I start to move ‘stuff’ into it.

The big stuff that has to go in and out needs to be parked at the front by the door, not at the back like this. I need overhead storage for wood.

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I really need a proper workbench and, in fact, I found a design for something that I can easily and cheaply build myself. It will go in the corner where the wood is right now. The wall where I set up the board and sawhorses will have a window, so I’m thinking low shelves on the bottom for storing bits and bobs or even a low dresser or cabinet. I’ll keep my eye open at the thrift stores.

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Garden tools can fill the north wall (where the wheelbarrow is presently) with hooks or some other system to hang them.

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As for the cabin, the east side is a complete disaster, but I’ve carved out a really nice little laundry area on the west side. I haven’t decided yet where I’m putting the dryer, probably on the east side since I don’t use it much.

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I screwed a couple of wine crates to the studs for instant storage.

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A bucket under the sink will catch water until I find a hose that I could run outside.

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I intend for the cabin to be an extension of my home until it is converted into a home. So I want to use it for domestic stuff only, not dirty things. I would really like to get some exercise equipment, especially a treadmill and a bench press, in it. It also needs a light source, but the shed light fixture wouldn’t be enough for this space

While I didn’t care much for living in RV parks, I did miss having other spaces I could retreat to, be they a laundry room, a gym, or a place to spread out a craft project. That’s what I’m getting here at Haven. Some people will scratch their heads and wonder why I don’t get a big house instead. I dunno. I just like this better. 🙂

Not Quite Enough Paint

Between work spurts, I finished up the painting in the shed this afternoon. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough paint to do the peaks and ceiling, as well as a few spots on the walls. But finishing the job isn’t worth $40 me since the objective of the exercise has been accomplished: being able to walk in there without immediately feeling like I need a shower!

It looks so bright in clean inside now!

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The wall to the right of the door (looking outside) is going to have a window, so I didn’t put too much effort into getting all the bare spots covered, saving the paint for the walls that are going to be more visible.

Now, I can start using the building! I’m not sure yet what I’m going to put in for storage. I will start by corralling everything I want to put into the shed and that will help me determine what I need. I’m trolling the classifieds for something that I will be able to use as a workbench and for tool storage.

Next little project will be to build a ramp into the shed so that I can more easily take out the lawnmower. I think I will be able to recycle pallets for that use!

The Day That Time Stood Still

It’s been one of those days where I have no idea what time I got up, but it must have been early because every time I look at the clock it’s a full two hours earlier than I feel it rightly should be based on how much I’ve gotten done!

Today was a Town Day. There were a bunch of really good sales starting and a number of items that have been on my to buy list were heavily discounted. So the first thing I did this morning was revise my shopping lists and make sure I had everything in the truck that I needed to bring to town. This included a 5-gallon water jug and a couple of packages for the post office that I spent quite some time preparing.

I would have been ready to leave by about 7:45, but I wanted to wait for the post since I was expecting a cheque. Thankfully, the cheque was in my box at 9:30 and I was able to leave at 9:45.

I wanted to go to Assiniboia by way of Willow Bunch because my Co-Op equity cheque would be waiting for me there. It was obviously a detour (an extra 30KM), but the Assiniboia pick up date was on Wednesday, when I didn’t need to go to town. It was much cheaper fuel-wise to detour to Willow Bunch this morning than to just go to Assiniboia for the cheque and no other purpose on Wednesday. Plus, it would give me a chance to take highways 36 and 13, which I don’t often have an excuse to travel and they are scenic!

The detour was really worthwhile since there was a $101 cheque waiting for me! I get a refund based on the previous year’s purchases and I bought a lot of building materials (my roofs) as well as propane in the colder months.

I got to Assiniboia around 10:45 and my first stop was obviously the bank. Then, I went to Peavey Mart to pick up paint for the interior of my shed ($29.99 for 10L instead of $39.99), a paint tray ($0.99 instead of $1.49), a fluorescent light fixture ($19.99 instead of $29.99), and two cans of Rustoleum Leak Seal ($8.99 each instead of $12.99).

Next stop was for fuel so I wouldn’t get caught like last time! Fuel is at $1.08 right now, which is better than the $1.30 I was paying in the fall! We were apparently below a dollar while I was away!

After fuel, I popped into the Co-Op home store since they were advertising a 75′ 14-gauge extension cord for just $34.57, about 55% lower than the best price I’ve ever seen for that product! Small hiccup when I came in, their 14-gauge 75′ extension cords were marked at $54.57. They didn’t come up in the computer as being the product advertised on sale, even though they clearly were. No worries, we’re all part owners of the Co-Op, so the manager tends to rule in the customer’s favour. She figured that the one on the shelf was equivalent and gave me the discount after looking at a few other products on the shelf. She was very impressed that I could correctly identify all the cord gauges from 20′ away. 🙂

14-gauge is still a little light, but I can string two 75′ sections and have no voltage drop on a full 20A load, so that’s good enough for my needs. I don’t have power to my outbuildings yet, so I rely on extension cords. I have one running to the cabin for the freezer and washer and I need two to get to the shed and the front part of the property for the mower. So I’ve been needing an extra 14-gauge cord since I got the freezer and have been cautiously making do with a 16-gauge one.

Next, I dropped my truck between Home Hardware and the post office. I went to the latter to mail my packages and found the prices surprisingly reasonable, although it was twice as expensive to get a tracking number for a US parcel as it was to send it without one (I took a chance and opted for the cheaper option).

Home Hardware was my next stop for some self-sealing silicone tape for a plumbing repair. When I came out, it was only 11:40!!! I was ravenous by this point and decided to just go to Andy’s for the buffet. At $11.50, it’s really the best value in town and I knew I could get in and out quickly. I pretty much just had pizza and broccoli. The server remembered how much I love their broccoli and told me as I sat down that it would be right out. I can’t believe she remembered that! They put sesame oil on it. I should try that at home.

My final stop of the day was the food store since they were having their 10 for 10 canned good sales. Those are always super good value, but you have to buy 10 to get the deal. I have enough beans, chickpeas, ham, and spaghetti sauce to get me through the summer! I’m eating a lot of spaghetti sauce again now that I’m doing the zucchini ‘noodles’ I discovered last year. At $1 for a large tin (Hunt’s brand, which is excellent!), it’s just not worth making my own sauce anymore (something I used to spend a day slaving over the stove doing).

Groceries packed into the truck, I headed home, where I pulled in at just past 1:00, just a little over three hours since I left! I’m telling you, time stopped at some point today!

First project when I got home was to get on the roof and apply another very generous layer of Rustoleum. I used up the whole can and sprayed over a wider area. While I was up there, I trimmed back some branches that were rubbing against my front window last night and actually woke me up at one point.

The next project was to install the light fixture in the shed. This was really easy, to my immense surprise. I just had to install two eye hooks into the ceiling (thankfully, I had some), attach chains to them, insert the fluorescent bulbs in the fixture, and then hang the fixture from the chains.

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It’s so great to finally have a decent light source in that dank and mousy cave! My friend Charles is going to install a window for me in a bit, but I know that natural light won’t be enough. The fixture plugs into an extension cord and there is a string for turning it on and off that I can easily reach.

I knew that painting was going to be a huge job because of the rough wood and all the nooks and crannies, so I just wanted to start today. I don’t care about a nice well-feathered paint job and any runs.

I used EcoCoat paint, a recycled product made in Alberta. It’s a low VOC paint, so it doesn’t have strong fumes, but it smells terrible. I am very impressed with the coverage, however, although I don’t think I’m going to have enough! 🙁 The label says $34.99, but there was a sign saying that the price has increased to $39.99.

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I started with the roller to get as much on as fast as I could and then followed up with the brush until I ran out of steam.

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The difference is already phenomenal! They had several colours and I decided that lighter would be better than darker, but that I didn’t want white or an actual colour. So this beigey ‘birch’ was perfect. I have a lot of work to do this weekend, but I want to try to get in a couple of hours each day of painting in the late afternoon.

Then, it was time for one last project. I have a small leak in a shut off valve for my water heater that is turning into a dramatic issue (mould starting). Normally, I would try to fix the bad valve and if that failed, I would cut it out and replace it. But there is literally no room to work and the IDIOT who put it in did so backwards so there is no hope of getting at it to try to at least repair it!

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The valve is a bypass that separates the water heater from the rest of the water system. This way, you don’t have to fill the water heater with potable antifreeze in the winter. I blow out my lines now, so I decided that I didn’t care if I couldn’t use my valve and I wrapped the whole thing in a giant wodge of self sealing tape. Don’t try this at home folks, it was desperate measures!

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I have no idea if this will be enough. It was very hard to get the right tension on the tape. I have half of the roll left to add more if needed. We shall see.

Something I bought last year made this job a wee bit easier. I can’t believe I waited this long in my life to get one!

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Then, it was time for a shower, a beer, and a break. Now, I’m thinking about dinner. It’s Friday and so I may be having a hot dog… in a corn tortilla. 🙂

Productive Days Are Good

I was blessed once again today with a super easy long file that meant decent income with minimal time at the keyboard. So I set Laundry as being my chore to accomplish. I’ve just gotten really behind because of the grey weather. I got it all done except some bedding by early afternoon.

Then, it was time to sort out my closet. In rebuilding my wardrobe, I’ve found myself with way more clothes than I can fit in Miranda and too many special pieces to want to winnow it all down. I have a pretty good idea of what I need at various points of the year now, so I packed up two or three tubs worth of colder weather gear and stuck it all in a grainery, leaving room in the wardrobe for summer dresses, tops, skirts, and pants. I made a list of the contents of each tub so if it winds up being a cool crappy summer like last year, I won’t have to dig far for the fleece.

My work was done by a dinnertime, so I had a quick bite to eat and then headed outside. I love these long lovely evenings! My first stop was the shed to assess the floor. To my surprise, there wasn’t nearly as much scraping left to do as I thought. I got it all done and will shop vac the next time I run extension cords that way. Next step is to find the absolute cheapest thing I can find to seal the wood, be it paint or varnish or whatever. I’m going to slap as many coats as possible on the walls and floor and call the shed usable after that. I have a plan for a workbench in one corner, shelves along one short wall, and room at the back for storing the mower and other garden implements.

Once I get the shed sorted out, I’ll be able to set up a really good laundry room. I think that will be it for Haven projects this year, unless the funds materialize to get some trenching done (ie. bring in a backhoe). If that happens, it’ll mean I’ll have what I need to get rudimentary plumbing in as well as bring power to each of the outbuildings. So needless to say, it’s not a likely event!

A Painted Door

Today, I finished off my workload in anticipation of taking the week off to go to Montreal. I was done around 2:00 and then it was time to wrap up a few exterior Haven projects, mainly get two coats of paint on the door Charles built.

Before:

After:

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I gave the interior of the shed another spray with bleach, then rounded up all the bits and pieces that I borrowed from Caroline and Charles, the pressure washer, sprayer, water hose, extension cord, and steps and brought it all back. I ended up helping them sweep out their shop and bring in quite a few sheets of subfloor and some drywall. I’m always glad to help my neighbours!

I came home with some heavy duty mouse poison because I’ve caught two mice in Miranda this week. As in caught with my gloved hands. My Tabitha would have been proud of her mom! 🙂 I miss my mousers…

Now, I have to tidy up the kitchen (and make what will likely be a shrimp dinner!) and then it will be time to pack for my trip! I’ve decided to head to Regina earlyish tomorrow, a day early, so I can run a few errands. I found a nice B&B near the airport that is much cheaper than a fleabag motel. If I time things right, I might even have time to stop in Moose Jaw for a sushi lunch! 🙂

Finally, nothing says ‘home’ to me more than this sight:

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Miranda + Haven = home. There, I’ve said it. I love this place. It is mine. Except for Miranda’s piddly remaining mortgage, I own my spread free and clear, something I never expected to be able to say. The security it brings me is immeasurable. It makes me feel like I can do anything.