Another Update

I’m just going to admit what we both already know: we’ve been crap at updating this blog. A lot of it comes down to the fact that a) we’re documenting most things with pictures on Instagram, and b) most things don’t feel noteworthy enough to write a whole post about.

So what’s been going on in our neck of the (literal) woods? I have a new job, which has much better hours than my previous gig, as well as better pay. I’m working with a great team and I get a pretty sweet discount on home building supplies, which is going to make our renovations way less expensive.

I’ve been trying to kickstart my photography business now that I finally have the energy for it (thanks to the much better schedule of my new job). I am both terrified of it failing and terrified of it being a success! It’s kind of the worst time to start what is essentially a summer business, but I’m hoping to get at least a little local work before the snow flies to build some relationships and recommendations for next summer so I’m not starting cold next year.

The garden situation is not great. I had vast aspirations for the type and amount of landscaping and gardening I would do this year… and it was too much. I planned a swale that would run into a rain garden, and I had planned to use the reclaimed wood from our flooded basement to turn the front yard into raised veggie beds.

Literally none of this happened.

This has been the rain garden status for months now.

I dug out the outline and perhaps a quarter (an eighth?) of my rain garden. Just enough to put the struggling plants I had bought and been gifted – under delusions of gardening grandeur – into the ground. Still some were lost as it was too late by the time I knuckled down to do it. The plants I grew from seed were planted too late, and most are only now flowering or beginning to grow fruit, with the first frost undoubtedly coming in the next few weeks. We have harvested a few green onions, I shall get a handful of small tomatoes, and I will likely see two teeny cucumbers. The pumpkins I planted are providing us gorgeous blossoms, but as the pollinating insects are dying off, we are unlikely to see fruit even starting.

I bit off more than I could chew. I recognize that now. My schedule at my old job was, in theory, wonderful. Getting off at 1:30 in the afternoon would have given me enough time to enjoy gardening, and renovations, and all sorts of daytime activities. The problem was that getting up at 4:15 in the morning, even after months, was continuously exhausting. I was emotionally and physically drained. All of my gardening plans were ambitious even if I’d had a normal amount of energy. As it was, I only just mowed the lawn in its entirety for the first time a couple weeks ago. It was overrun with tree saplings that took me – in my exhausted state – ages to get under control. My pride did not let me accept assistance from my wife nor our helpful neighbour.

Now that I have my groove back, coupled with the lower daytime temperatures and smaller number of biting bugs, I think I can get the landscaping finished up before winter. I outlined the swale in sod pulled from the rain garden, so that will be easy to build on. The rain garden simply needs the sod dug up and the soil shaked out. The big project to do will be to plan and build my raised garden beds and try to source the huge amount of soil and compost required to fill them. I watched this video recently, and was super inspired!

Mo’s grandfather keeps a vegetable garden and has been keeping us in fresh veggies for weeks now, which is also super motivating. It’s easy to forget just how good your homegrown food tastes. It’s also got me itching to learn how to can, as Mo’s grandfather had so many beans that they started getting tough and stringy before we (and the many people who were being fed by his gardening) could finish them. How amazing it would be to have preserved food from your own garden all winter long.

Our renovations stalled for a while, but we did some moving of things to create a guest room for my visiting sister-in-law over the summer. It turned out pretty cozy, and with the door and two large windows, it was a brighter and airier room than our bedroom!

Jolene the sheep enjoys the guest room.

It actually made us consider using the room as our bedroom instead!

We are currently waiting on a quote from an electrician to do a much-needed panel update. We have a fuse panel as opposed to a breaker panel, and we need to update it before adding in breakers for, say, the dryer we have in our covered porch that we would really like to be able to use. The electrician recommended setting up the laundry in the bedroom we are currently using, since it is only on the other side of the kitchen wall (where the washer was originally installed) and would be much closer to the electrical panel than where we wanted to put it in the covered porch (currently our guest room). So our idea of using the guest room/covered porch as our bedroom may come to fruition sooner rather than later!

The electrical priorities right now are updating the panel, hooking up the laundry, and getting a ventilation fan installed in the bathroom. There are lots of other, lower priority things on our electrical list, but they can be done room-by-room when the time comes.

When my cousin and her partner told me and Mo that it would take probably a year to settle in, I was both in denial and a panic. A year would be forever! We’ll never make it a year! It only takes us a few months to settle in when we move apartments in Edmonton! (Which we did, three times together.)

But it’s absolutely true. It’s hard to feel settled when you don’t know what a season will bring, and I am just going into my first maritime autumn. (It promises to be pretty awesome.) Winter was strange by all accounts – more snow, but for less time, and far more days spent stranded by weather than I’ve ever experienced. Spring was unexpectedly wonderful. Summer has been overwhelmingly humid and buggy; Edmonton mosquitoes have nothing on Boylston black flies. And autumn holds the promise of cooler weather and beautiful leaves.

We are also getting used to the demands of being homeowners. There is more freedom to do what we want with the place, yes, but it is all on us if something goes wrong. We recently replaced our aging refrigerator, for instance. The grass keeps growing if we don’t mow it, and garbage doesn’t get hauled away unless we bag it up and get it to the roadside bright and early in the morning. No more tossing it in a dumpster whenever it fits our convenience! It’s different, to be sure, but we’re slowly building value into our home with our work.

It feels like we are starting to hit our stride, and only a few more things need to fall into place. We’re creating things that we do, like Sunday brunch, and walks down by the church in Boylston. Coming home after a roadtrip to Ontario this summer was an enlightening experience. It felt relaxing to walk in the door. We feel happy here; like this is finally home.


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