Saturday, March 31, 2007


Well the barn reno is underway. (see before images at Les's blog)
We've removed all the windows and all the styrofoam, particle board and poke-your-eye out nails from the interior.
Here we see our fearless leader pretending to do something of some importance. (Keep yer hat on dork, everything will be fine.)
And here is the foreman inspecting the work so far. A bit more work tomorrow and we'll start the real thing on Monday. We're replacing a couple of bad joists in the first floor ceiling, and fixing the foundation in a few key spots. Once the structure is solid again it'll need a good pressure washing, then on to insulation and finishing. Somewhere in there we'll have to rewire it as well. The clock is ticking! Monday we'll have a crew and heavy machinery, stand by for more news as it comes in.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pit(s) (s)Crew(ed)

Ok look, it's not like I enjoy making posts about how dense I am, but this is just too inept to not share. Yesterday one of the jobs on my list was to remove the winter tires on the old truck and put on the all seasons. No problem, I've changed plenty of tires before, mostly on the side of the road, or in much more treacherous places than in my own driveway. Now that I think about it though, it's been years since I did it, and I suppose some of the process must have escaped me, as the stupid truck fell off the jack 3 TIMES.

Here's a note about those crappy scissor jacks they give you with vehicles. The higher you get your vehicle, the easier it is to turn the crank. When your vehicle is tireless and leaning right over on the ground, and you have to start your jack from a closed position, it's quite difficult. It was all I could do to get that truck up to a point where it was level again. It was stupid hard. Trucks are really heavy. Like, really heavy.

In any case, it all started off fine. I jacked up the truck, removed the first wheel, but then, as I was positioning the new wheel, the truck slowly started to lower as the jack slipped over on it's side. It's descent was slow and leisurely, so I had lots of time to remove my hands, and wonder what was going on. I reset and repositioned the jack. Since the truck was now leaning on the unattached wheel, it wasn't too low, so I cranked it back up again. Sure enough, as I was trying again to put on the wheel, over it goes again. This time it was low. After cranking and cranking on the jack, I finally got it up level again, and decided to get some advice.

I was pretty frutrated and pissed, and not thinking too clearly, so I called my level headed father, who of course suggested I might want to put a couple of blocks around the wheels to stop the truck from rolling off the jack. Duh. He also suggested placing some blocks in a spot under the frame so that if it did go down again, it wouldn't fall down so far. He gave this advice easily, almost off hand, without making me feel any stupider than I did already. I guess when you're on the side of the road you normally don't have these options, so pile that up with the long gap since my last tire change, and my wanting to just jump in there and do the job without thinking about it first, and you've got a recipe for risking losing your hands under a truck.

After these precautions were taken, the truck actually went down a third time, but rested on the stack of blocks I had, so it wasn't hard to get it back up. It was becoming part of the routine now. I honestly don't know what I did differently the fourth time I put the jack under there, but this time it was solid. I cranked on the nuts to get them on solid, with enough force to have the teetering truck woggle back and forth a bit, but stay up. Brimming with this success I lowered the truck and went on to the other side. The second tire came off and the new one went on in very little time, with no mishaps. Kind of like the way it's supposed to in the first place.

I then decided I needed a mental break from this stupidness, and thankfully I had just finished preparing my bike before moving on to the truck, so I went for a nice relaxing ride. Cruising around is way better than working.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Under Seige / House Arrest

Well spring is here, the snow is melting, the rain is falling (off and on, mostly off, but that'll's clouding over as I write this) Just in time to, as Quinn's snowpants and mitts are pretty much shredded. He looks like some kind of post toddler winter zombie. Nice that they're playing outside lots, but sheesh.

We've seen several robins now, and yesterday Les and I spotted a chipmunk rummaging around in the yard. Baxter also showed up by the screen door yesterday with a mole or some big fat mouse like thing in his mouth. Les started yelling at him to drop it and leave it alone. (right...cause cats listen so well...) He spent the next while batting it around and tossing it in the air. (four feet in the air!) I let the dog out, and although you might think that the two on one tag team would finish the poor creature, the dog really just got in the way, and soon the little... whatever it was had half scrambled half fallen down the stairs of the deck and disappeared under some gaps in the concrete. The cat is on a mission now.

He got very close to an unsuspecting sparrow at the feeder yesterday. From this angle you can't tell that the cat has a 15' fall if he leaps up to try and snatch it.
Good Lord! I just had to get up and run to the furnace room to investigate scuffling noises! Sounded like something inside the plastic piping vent which runs out side. I wacked it around a bit, and nothing, went outside with the dog and inspected it. It does have a pest screen on it, but the holes are relatively large, certaily a small mouse could climb in there. I'll have to take a closer look to figure our exactly where those sounds were coming from.

Yesterday I finally got around to climbing through the attic and putting poison here and there for the mice that are up there. You can hear them scratching and doing god knows what in the evenings. The attic is not very high, and there are supports running width wise every 16 in. I can't stand up, and I can't quite crawl underneath those supports, so I have to slowly pick my way across, high stepping over each support as I go. It's a total pain in the tuckas. Anyway there is straw and grasses in a couple of spots, right down by the eaves where it's too narrow for me to get to unless I get right down on my stomach and slither. No thank you. So I used a long stick to set the blocks of poison where the mice likely are. There is also a chewed hole in the screening of the gable vent, but I'm hoping I can fix that from the outside.

In any case, now that we're poisoning mice, the cat is under house arrest. If some doped up half dead mouse leaves the attic in search of water before it dries up we don't want the cat eating it. You might think that the mice are in the house, so that cat could just as easily find one inside as out, but there is no evidence of mice inside the house below the roof line, I've found their entrance point from the outside, (the gable vent) and there is a constant and plentiful supply of food for them outside under the bird feeder, so there is no need for them to venture down the walls.

The mice are definitely interested in the poison blocks I've distributed. This morning at 5:30 a mouse woke me up by wrestling with a block above the window by the bed. He must have loved it cause he wrestled with it for what seemed like hours.

What does all this mean? I don't know, but it seems it could be a hint of things to come, that and a neighbours warning that the frogs here are so loud in the summer that you can just about forget about sleeping for a couple of months.

I love country life!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Is It Time Yet?

Last week ZooMom posted a note about her misadventures with the early time change. One week later, (almost) and I still haven't 'sprung forward'. I go to bed way too late, and, seeing how the kids haven't gone to school this week, I haven't been waking up too early either. Monday is going to be rough if I can't haul my cookies to bed at a reasonable hour tonight and tomorrow. I really should make an effort to wake up at a reasonable time tomorrow morn. I've been thinking about drinking a pitcher of water right before bed tonight, to aid in that cause, but that maybe wouldn't be the smartest thing to do. I suppose I could actually reset my bedside clock to the right time, that might be a place to start...

Sugar High

This week being March Break, we thought we'd take a day to spend with the kids away from the house. We went to a sugar bush north of Kingston, where we got to ride in a covered wagon.
The kids had fun running around and looking for sap in the buckets.We went on a short tour detailing the history of sap collecting and syrup making. Quinn of course had more to say than the poor tour guide. Leah was kind of more interested in her toys than anything else, and her little monkey took more 'pictures' than anyone there. It was quite warm, and the kids played a bit of king of the mountain while we waited for the wagons to take us back to the outdoor center.We went for a short walk through the woods. Quinn kept very close to us, trying to avoid being snatched away by wolves. I'll personally share half the blame for that one, along with his extra vivid imagination. When we first got there Leah said she'd like to see a cardinal, because she's never seen one before. Low and behold, just as we were leaving, there it was, lurking around the feeder. We have lots of birds in our own backyard, blue jays, blackbirds, sparrows, 4 different species of woodpeckers (so far), etc, etc. but so far this is the first cardinal we've seen. Thanks Leah!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Which Way Did It Go?

Grammie and Gramps were over this weekend. It was so nice outside that Gramps and I went out to buy a chainsaw and cut down the dead tree. You can probably see from the hollow core that the tree has been dead for a while. Certainly longer than we've known the property. It was hung up on another tree, tangled in the branches and giving it a bad bark-burn. It was a weird one though, tricky to guess which way it would fall or how it would react to being cut. We started by notching out one side, then cutting through the back. Very business like. We soon resorted to throwing heavy objects at it, ropes, levers, etc. Our somewhat unconventional methods paid off in the end though, as we got it to fall away from the house, causing no more damage to the poor tree it was leaning against. Then we chopped it up right good. Too bad we don't have a more action filled photo, but the girls were out at the shops, and we were too engrossed in our work to think about it. Next time.

Friday, March 9, 2007


Here's another example of kids being too damn honest. Lesley recently put an add in a small local newspaper, kind of a newsletter really, looking for housepainting jobs. Leah has to do a current events presentation every couple of weeks or so, in which she has to go through a paper and choose an article that she can breakdown and present to her class. See where I'm going? In the past we've steered her away from advertisments and comics and convinced her to tackle actual news, however we got stuck on a town council article a while back, and while helping her with it even we realized that we didn't understand what it was all about. So this time around we went a little easier on her, and let her choose what she wanted. She chose Les's ad. Whatever, it was cute.

Yesterday she brought home a stack of tests, projects, drawings and bits from this winters school work, and in going through it we came across the synopsis of her latest current events project. I'll transcribe it here:

Current Event
who: Lesley Snyder
what: paint wall's and mural's
When: when ever you call her.
Where: at your house
Why: she need's a job

Well, at least she's honest.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

What about me?

All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tim a dull boy.

You know, ctrl v makes this whole exercise a bit less impactful...

Monday, March 5, 2007

Happiness Is...

Finding a DVD of The Searchers for 3.99 in a bin at the grocery store. Ecstatic will be finding the perfect quiet weekend afternoon to enjoy it.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


Now you might ask, "Why does that Snyder kid have a picture of a cow horn up there? What a nerd." Well look again dear reader, and notice the small square and little round holes. It has risen above a lowly and simple dead animal clipping, to a new level of existance, the gemshorn. ("What a Royal nerd.") I spent yesterday evening and this morning fitting a wooden block in the horn, and chiseling out the fipple and finger holes. (Fipple and Finger, holy crap that would be a great name for a pub) (Erm, maybe a pub on the OTHER side of town...)

Anyhoo, sounds great even though I've tuned it by ear. Takes a few minutes to fill with nice warm human air, but then the sound is almost haunting. If I ever get my hands on an electronic tuner it could certainly use some more tweaking, but for now it'll move to the top of the rotating whistle pile.

Friday, March 2, 2007


Well we woke up to ice everywhere and branches snapping off the trees every two seconds. We're hoping there won't be too much damage to the bigger older trees that we love so much. Quite a bit of twiggy wood on the ground though. We're getting some snow this afternoon too, but it shouldn't amount to very much. We'll see. Some really nice looking stuff though, although the birds might not think that. Our main feeder is pretty much inaccessible, a medium sized branch has snapped above it causing it to hang low over the feeder.
Everything looks as though it were covered in glass.
The daisy man on the barn seems to think it's kind of funny...
...but again, the birds - not impressed.
Of course the kids are home from school today. They didn't notice anything unsual outside till it was pointed out to them. Quinn very logically points out, "It's raining outside, I'm going to wear my pajamas all day." Nice.