Thursday, May 30, 2013

cellar dweller

i used to hate on the idea of living in a basement.. just seems like a bad idea is all. mostly paranoid about water really, but so far even our first leaky mishap was well worth the benefits that come with living underground. the first big rain we had leaked into our kitchen... totally my fault, i was gardening and forgot to replace the piping that carries the water away from the foundation.. woke up with a slick of water on the floor. after learning that lesson quickly, it's back to chillin'.

number one benefit of living sub-terra.. the temperature! when it's too cold, that's an easy fix. space heaters and blankets work wonders. but when it's creeping up over a hundred degrees outside, it's easy to stay cool as a cucumber down here no AC required. i say as i sip on my cucumber apple lemonade, fresh from the juicer... super healthy part of my thrive challenge!
omnom..! delicious and refreshing, perfect for any hot day. and a hot one it is... it's a good thing i got home when i did. another hour without shade and water and my freshly planted seedlings would have had the biscuit. i had to carefully pour as much water as i could down to the roots without hitting the leaves [for fear of burning them] to quickly revive them.. they sprung right back. phew! i'd be pretty upset if i lost a part of that big beautiful garden especially so soon!

there are key elements to keeping our little hole in the ground cool and comfortable. first being a dehumidifier. this device is a key component to living comfortably in a basement no matter the season, most especially in older homes, the basements of which were originally not intended to be living space. the second key element is a large circulator fan. we have the one that sits on the floor, but can be tilted up. this helps to keep the air moving, and push the cooler air from the tiled cement of our kitchen into the slightly better insulated main room. to make this system work though, the windows must be kept shut. we have been using this system since we got here, and even on the hottest days it's noticeably cool.

well, that being said, the afternoon sun is passing and it should be safe to go back outside and mill about in the garden. lots of digging and planting still to do before my epic journey south.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

garden vacation

yeaaay! so happy i get to have a garden this year. although, we've had to start from scratch.. it's been fun though, and we had the last few years at the white house to learn from. i'm glad we have a chance to try new things and different methods. i dropped a new post over at Southern Ontario Urban Permaculture about our experimental beds.. we're trying some cardboard garden beds built in layers of mulch, topsoil and other good stuff. it was perfect cool weather with the warm sun to be out back digging away. i have the week off so i can hit the farmer's market tuesday, thursday and saturday to pick up more fruit and veggie plants from some of my favourite vendors.

matt had an interview for a job yesterday, and it sounds like it's a go.we had a wee sort of housewarming gathering today, it was nice. some vids, garden tours and a bonfire, catching up and sharing stories with a few good old friends. couldn't have had a better day.

tomorrow, i'll head out to the country to my pop's place to borrow a mower [ha!] and collect a rain barrel that we will use here at the house. it's a busy week lined up, then i fly out to the southern states at the end of it.. 2o13, you so crazy..

Sunday, May 19, 2013

hot, hot sun.

wasn't it just the other day ago i was speaking of winter's last kiss? oh my, we really don't get spring anymore.. summer is charging right in. or maybe it's just the midday sun... the breeze still has a coolness to it and i'm grateful for that. it was so chilly this morning it's hard to believe this is the same day.

got a lot accomplished today, even if a couple hours of the day was simply pacing the back yard.. lots of good ideas, relaxation... feels good to be home. i'm glad i have a staycation coming up, followed by a work trip down to the southern states for a whole week. so i get paid to garden, and then paid to travel... i'm okay with that.

Matt and i cleared a bunch more of the 'meadow' today to make way for the veggie bed. and uncovered the bench seats around the firepit, i had a burn earlier today to get rid of some brush and weeds. got a decent amount of sun.. i even pulled out the old two man tent that i lived in for a little while. i don't think it saw the light of day all year last year as i was flying solo with the one man, so i was anxious to get it set up and out of the bag for a while. i might spend the night in it if it doesn't get too cold.

i picked up a bunch of plants this weekend too. the top shelf was from the farmer's market, and the bottom from the grocery garden center. silly me, i forgot about the two huge dogs, so i'll have to grab something to use as a barrier before i pop them in the ground. hopefully they'll be fine in their containers til tuesday when i can pick something up.

getting the inside organized finally too.. geez we've been here three weeks and most of our stuff was still stacked in totes and boxes! haha.. well we went from having the majority of our stuff in storage and sharing only a room, to having all of our stuff and sharing an apartment. sooo... we must collect furniture!

we finally sprung for some freakin shelves so we could clean up the main room. now it almost looks like an actual apartment! ...until you get to the bedrooms haha. well one is a bedroom, the other is more of a storage closet at the moment, with a chest freezer and a bunch of other stuff. i'm not too heartbroken over the fact that we don't have much.. we have what we need and a few creature comforts, and we have each other. life is good.

i managed to make this post take the entire day to write, a sentence here and there in between everything else.. and now it's dark again, and the night is chilly. nice night for a fire though... woohoo no work in the morning! happy long weekend indeed.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

winter's last kiss...

this happens every year it seems, we have a few weeks of almost summer weather and then we experience a mid-May cold snap.. this one came as such a shock as the temperatures went from mid twenties right back down to freezing in about a day. i woke up frozen as i realized the furnace never kicked on..

it's the perfect weather to bundle up in a couple of nice thick sweaters. can still get away with no jacket if i'm smart about it, truth be told... i love sweater weather. so i'm kinda glad winter came back around with it's final kiss, i was starting to feel the heat.

the sky is crisp on the walk to work.. painted with clouds of bright white and deep chilling grey. the view is stunning as i make my way over the bridge, i stop to take it in. the smell of wood burning stoves fills my nose... nostalgia. i am thankful for the peaceful walk.. to reflect, and project future dreams into reality.

welcome back winter if only for a minute.. you prepare my heart for a spring of hard work and gardening.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

cold sunday.

brrr. mid May cold snap... i'm pretty sure i went to the laundromat just as much to warm up as i did to do the laundry. it was also a good day to drag a couple carts full of soil and manure from the market across the street. the wind and hail discouraged me from digging though, so i retreated to our subterrarium homestead. by the way, i thought i made that word up, turns out it's the name of a place in germany which happens to be some sort of underground [literally?!] art studio/club. neato! ...yoink...

anyhoo.. i promised myself i'd write more, and make some use of this blogger thing, so here goes.. imma use it to keep track of all these crazy ideas i get about what i'm going to do with my home or my yard, or my food or my life or whatever.. so i don't forget to use them! facebook is great and all, but not as much geared towards free form writing. awesome for pictures, but i like to share a few here with the story too.

so we just moved to our new basement apartment, and we have access to a pretty big back yard. to make times a little more interesting, Matt lost his job, so he's been relying on random temp labour jobs and handing out resumes, and the penny jar is pretty low. we can afford to get by if we are very frugal, so we're getting some practice at being super resourceful. being broke also makes us more conscious of our possessions and re-purposing things instead of buying new.

a lot of what we have for kitchen wares was given to us from our previous roommates who wanted to thin their collection, and from Matt's mom.. so we have a crazy odd-ball collection of dishes, but it's all we need. two other friends gave me two awesome sets of storage jars and canisters, and we found a bunch of stuff in storage that hadn't seen the light of day in years that we finally got to unpack. between the two of us we could probably start a library, our collections rival one another. amongst some of our other collectibles, cards and figurines that had been stashed away from our kidhoods.

i didn't quite get to paint right away as i had hoped, we don't have the money right away to get it done. it's kinda cool though because we have more time to think about how we want to finish our space to make it 'us'. plus if imma be a domesticated animal, i gotta do it up right. i'll start in the bathroom.. it's a small space and we can paint and decorate for next to nothing. since we're in a basement apartment with strange lines, textures and spaces, i was thinking we could keep it funky, maybe a little on the colourful side to brighten it up and make it fresh. it's pretty dingy and neglected so whatever we change will be for the better. so anyway the bathroom.. i was thinking to make it look kinda like a bamboo outhouse all rugged and stuff, like the one in Jurassic park! haha..

the center wall in our apartment is exposed painted concrete block. one side is our living room wall, the other side is the hallway to the bathroom. i'm trying to come up with some ideas of how i can use the texture creatively. so far i was thinking since i'm starting with the bathroom, i could continue out into that hallway, and paint the blocks to look like big old mossy bricks. i know this sounds ridiculous, but i'm pretty ridiculous. him too. so it works!

well that's all i got for now. i already threw down a couple more posts on my other blogs, one about the garden, and one aboout the challenge.. most particularily about the experience i had finally cutting off my dreadlocks. what a change.. i feel.. different. change is good.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

five years.

five years ago todayish.. i stepped off a bus out in the canadian prairies and stuck out my thumb. i didn't have a plan, any idea where i'd end up, or any home to go back to. just a tent, a rucksack and a little company. i walked away from a full time job, a nicely furnished apartment.. a sane, regular life that i had become bored of. i felt useless, stuck.. like i could do better for myself. so i cashed out my stocks, sold all my stuff and took off to find where i belong.

and i took my time doing it. time was all i had really, and enough loot to float by for a while. i didn't bother with a phone. back then there wasn't plans like there are today, and a calling card was enough for when i came across a telephone. random use of computers at libraries and internet cafes was my connection to the world. each day was slow and steady. every moment counted, everything was so brand new. i was wide open for whatever the wide open country would bring to me.

eventually, it brought me right back to where i started, but in a different place in my mind. though i had an amazing time wandering and camping and working crazy cool temp jobs on either coast of the country, i had a greater appreciation for all that i had at home. 

it's usually about this time each year that i get restless, yearn for the roadlife once again. this year i got to move to a new place right at the beginning of may, with a friend.. we start a new journey together now, finding our way and the balance between adventure and stability. it's usually a lot harder to resist that urge to just ditch out with a rucksack. this time i'm so excited for every new day and all of the work [and play] lined up for the season that escaping is far out of the question. and it feels good.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

project newhouse.. time to thrive!

so we moved quite suddenly. we weren't expecting to get in until the end of May but thankfully, here we are. i will now have a week off at the end of the month to start some home renovations and get the back yard ready to garden. our apartment is the basement of a house. it needs a little fixing but it's a great space, big windows all along the west side. the fact that it was left in need of a facelift gives us an opportunity to get creative.

the back yard is a story of it's own, it's quite big for inner city. there's a large black walnut tree and a maple, and yet still a fair bit of space that gets sun for most of the day. the previous tenants built us a housewarming gift, a cool bench seat for beside the firepit. and a garden box along the back fence, which we haven't decided what to plant in.

the past week has been a blur, moving, cleaning, unpacking and rediscovering things that have long been stored away.. and enjoying our very own space. Matt and i have been couch hopping and roomsharing for a little under a year, and it's awesome to finally have a whole apartment to ourselves. so peaceful! as much as we loved the people that housed us, we are enjoying what we have now. something to make our own.

now that i'm all domesticated, may as well play the part. i think i'm gonna start in the bathroom.. go with a little rustic and nature theme. the kitchen i am undecided on how to finish, and the livingroom is looking like it will be kind of oriental style by default.. we like to be close to the ground, and as we only had a room in the last place we are lacking in livingroom furniture. so for now, it's floor pillows and a couple small ground level tables. the bedroom will likely be red and black, and then the storage/play room... well, that's going to be fun! and this is what happens when streetkids become unhomeless. ha..

i should probably get some sleep, five a.m. comes early. we've been so busy getting our place together [and pausing to whoop each other at nintendo64 games] that we forgot about the internet, and writing and stuff. at least i'm managing to keep on top of my thrive challenge, even if i haven't found a moment to write about it in a while. anyways.... bed!