Saturday, April 30, 2011

Home Improvement....cont:

Much of what has been happening in our world hardly merits blogging about.  We've been busy with mundane things like hanging pictures and art works in the house, completing our income tax, running errands and working a bit on some yard work.  

Our latest project involves some more serious grunt work though.  That's today's story.  Be warned!'s not very exciting.

The width of these gates - when open = 8' 9"
To back the 5th wheel here requires precision driving, patience and a really good guide.  With only 4" of space on each side of the 5th wheel, when backing in, it's  a really tight fit.....and, for some, it could be a hair raising fit.  This is just too tight.  I have now backed into this space on two occasions.  Conclusion?  These gates and posts have to go

Some of the required tools for the job.
The width between the house and the neighbour's fence is 14'.  The width between the eave troughs and the neighbour's fence is 11' 7".  There is plenty of room for the fiver with the wooden gates and 6"X6" posts removed.  That's the objective.

Needed a couple bags of this stuff.
Before removing the existing wood gates/posts, I custom ordered a powder coated metal gate system from a local manufacturer.  The company provided me with one 9' black powder coated post. It needs to be dug into the ground (at a 3' depth) and filled with cement.  Once cured, this post - in concrete -  will hold the longest 10' gate.

So,  I put shovel to dirt and dug deep.
No need for a work out gym?  Just dig holes in really tough ground.  That will break a sweat and toughen arm and leg muscles.
Really tough stuff to dig out....! Perseverance pays off though.
With a fair bit of physical effort, the hole was dug and the post placed and leveled.
At 9' high, once set in cement, the post will rest at the required 6', 1 1/2"above surface height - or grade.
Finding level and bracing the post.
With the post cement mixed, it was quickly dumped in the hole and level checked once again.
That was straight forward work.  The key is making sure that, once cured in concrete, the post is level.   Good so far.
Slightly over two feet of cement poured into this hole.  It will easily hold the mounted 6' X 10' metal gate.
If the level doesn't lie, this post is level and rests 6' 1.5" above grade.  That's what is required here.
After the cement pour was completed, I quickly cleaned out the wheel barrow, shovel and other tools that made contact with cement mix.
Checked on the job, a few hours later, and the cement had morphed into concrete. The post is level and the height is perfect.  Job #1 completed.

The critical reader will have noticed that the new metal post is set a few feet forward from the existing wooden posts and gates.  I did plan to extend the RV parking area.  The current length is 44'.  After the new metal gates are installed, the new length will be 47'.

Current length for RV parking - 44'
2nd metal post to be mounted here.
Custom made post with level magnetically attached.
The next job was to mount the custom made, powder coated gate post to the house.  The bottom part needs to be bolted into the concrete foundation.  The top part is bolted directly through the siding.  I marked the spots for drilling, took a 5/8" concrete drill bit and began drilling away.  It quickly became clear that I would need a serious hammer drill to drill these two holes.  Mine is too small for this task.  That's when the day ended.  It was too late to get to a rental shop.  It was past 5:00 pm.  I have a lot of tools but a serious hammer drill is one I do not have.

This is also where this story ends....till the next time.  Today - Saturday - I offered to help a good friend build his back yard dog kennel.  My home RV gate project will have to wait for another day to complete. Once the second custom post is attached to the house - and new measurements are taken - the manufacturer will custom make one 6' X 10' gate and one 6' X 3.6' gate - powder coated in black.  With the hardware to mount the gates to posts, the overall width will equal 14'.  Once our new RV compound  metal gate is completed, I will remove the existing wooden gates and the two 6" X 6" wooden posts.
Of course, thinking ahead, the metal gate - unlike this wooden structure - will be maintenance free.  Hurray for that!

Thanks for dropping by.....but I did warn you that this blog would be sort of mundane.

Wishing you a really nice weekend.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Weekend Activities

Finally - some decent weather and these flowers are blooming.

With the Easter weekend comes the usual rush to cross into the USA to take advantage of cheaper US goods.  What would make someone want to wait in line at the Canada/USA borders,  for up to five (5) hours, just to save a few bucks?   That's right!  To each his/her own but I value my time far too much to waste it in long line ups to save a few bucks.

This Canada/USA border is at 0 (zero) avenue.  The traffic was backed up to 24th avenue.  That is, at the very least, a three to four hour wait from here.
It was a decent day to ride so we headed east towards Cultus Lake in the eastern Fraser Valley.  We were surprised to find so few people taking advantage of the Provincial Park, the lake and beautiful surroundings.

No shortage of parking.

Popular beach area with nary a soul to find.

Quiet and peaceful.
We were quite pleasantly surprised by the absence of boats on Cultus Lake.  In the peak of summer, there are so many boats that it's deafening to be anywhere near this lake. 
This is mountain glacial water and it seems to have little effect on this youngster who is water skiing without a wet or dry suit.

This long boat seems to be patiently waiting for its rowers.

Just a great day to walk the quiet beaches and docks in the area.
We walked around at the main beach area then rode south and west towards the private RV and the Provincial campgrounds.  There were a few hardy RVers enjoying some weekend family time.

Aquadel Golf Course - an 18 hole executive course on the west side of Cultus Lake

There were quite a few golfers enjoying this Good Friday on the links.
After hanging around for a while we headed back towards home.  These are some shots of agriculture in the Fraser Valley.

Early growth.

Pastoral scene.


That was our Friday spent enjoying the countryside.

Saturday was devoted to our first SNAKE GOLF round of the season.  We were 12 players enjoying a gorgeous day opening round @ Fort Langley Golf & Country Club.  I had very good intentions to bring the camera along but I left it back home.  So much for blogging about golf, eh?  I can say that we had a fabulous time golfing in the beautiful outdoors, on a bright, sunny and warm day.
Cabins and chalets that surround the east/north side of Cultus Lake.

Chilliwack River

Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cleaning House.....

North side of the house - Hanging on for dear life!
It is actually not as bad as it looks from the ground but it is not a job for weak knees.  This was Monday when I decided to get outdoors and get going with the job of cleaning the gutters (eaves trough, for the sophisticated readers out there) and washing the house exterior walls.
Six long years of gunk in the gutters.
The eaves and house had not been cleaned since it was built about six years ago.  It was seriously due.  The gutters were packed with gunk and there was a heavy coating of dirt staining the vinyl siding.  I could not stand to look at it any longer.
This is going to take some work to get done.
I would normally use my pressure washer to accomplish this task but I had to clean the  gutters the old fashioned way - with a bucket and a little scooper.  Whoa!  So much gunk to remove.  This necessitated going up and down the ladder several times just to empty the bucket.
With the gutters cleaned, I moved on with washing the exterior of the eaves, soffits and house walls.
The gutters and vinyl siding were seriously stained and the only way to really clean this up was the old fashioned way - a bucket of hot, soapy water and a good brush.  Phew!!!  What a job.  After about six hours in a rain suit, hose in hand and hard brushing, my arms began to seriously cramp up.  It didn't help that I was quite wet - in spite of the rain suit - and quite cold too.
It is much easier to access the second story on this house than our previous home.
Having managed to completely clean all the gutters and wash the north and east side of the house, I called it a day.  A hot shower and a good cup of coffee was needed to relieve the muscle aches in my arms.

Yesterday was a day off from house washing to visit the dentist for the first 90 minute job to prepare a tooth for a permanent crown.  Gosh....that's more taxing for me than spending an entire day washing the house.  By the time I was done with the dentist, running several errands, looking at re-registering one of our vehicles, it was time to watch the NHL Vancouver Canuckians  get seriously beat by the Chicago Blackhawks.  What an awful game to watch.  It was excruciatingly painful.  Washing the house is less painful.....!        

With just a bit of a sore jaw and arms somewhat healed from the first day of house washing, today was the day to complete the task.
Set myself up to wash the 2nd story front and west side.
Got all dressed up with the rain suit and headed back on the roof for round number two of house cleaning.
Ugly gunk that could only be removed by hand.  Yuk!!!
After a few hours of up and down with several buckets of gunk, I was finally able to use the hose and finish cleaning the inside gutters.  What a job?
Don't slip....!
Finally finished emptying the inside of the gutters and then began washing and scrubbing the exterior of the gutters and the vinyl siding.
Offering to change places with the official photographer.  Imagine my shock when she came out to ask if my life insurance policy was up to date.  Can you fathom that?  Unbelievable!  Then she took this photo.
I heard a comment from the peanut gallery (aka...photographer) about sitting down on the job!!!  Aarrgh!!!
The peanut gallery finally offered some lunch so I took fifteen minutes to gulp down some much needed energy before continuing with the job.

Now to the west side gutter cleaning.  Will this ever end???
The west side is all I have left to complete.
Almost ready to get off the roof and wash the first level vinyl siding.
This was a good day to tackle this job - weather wise.  It was a cool start to the day.  Wearing a rain suit was more comfortable than working on a hot day. 
Finally completed the work on the second story.  Now on terra firma!
This photo was the last one taken by the peanut gallery - from inside the living room window.  She dared not step outdoors at the risk of receiving a cold shower.

Seriously though, the task of removing gutter gunk, washing, scrubbing and rinsing the entire house took 12 hours, over a two day period.  Cleaning the house on an annual basis will be much easier and certainly much quicker from now on.  Yippee for that.

Parked the dually and the Nissan trucks in their rightful places.
One more shot.
With the hose put away, the bucket cleaned, the rain suit removed, it was time to call it a day.  One more major task completed.

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wonderful Visitors....great weekend!

Daughter with mom - Friday morning
Son with mom - Friday evening
It has been since last Christmas that we were all together as a family.  How nice to have both of our children visit on the same weekend.  Ginette arrived @ the Abbotsford airport this past Friday @ 8:20 am. and Deni arrived at the same airport on Friday evening @ 7:15 pm.  They both live in Edmonton and flew in for the weekend.
Abbotsford Airport, British Columbia - 10 minutes from our new home.
Deni's girlfriend, Courtney had arrived 5 days earlier to visit with her family and friends.  She met Deni at the airport and they came over to the new home.

Ginette's husband, Trevor stayed back in Edmonton to look after some much needed chores but they will all be out  again in four to five weeks.  Can't wait!
Having arrived on an early morning flight, Ginette was looking forward to a good cup of coffee.
Spending time catching up on news from her world and ours.
Touring the new home.

Freshly painted and completely organized.

New look.
Ginette liked the new home.  Our two kids pretty well grew up in the former house in White Rock.  We had lived in our previous home for over 21 years.  Both liked the new place and gave it their seal of approval.  Yeah!!!!
Courtney and Deni both liked the new home too.

Getting familiar with the new kitchen too.  Deni loves to cook and a kitchen is of primary importance to him.
So, after the 25 cent tour of the new home was completed, we settled down to chat and plan the weekend activities.  That started the ball rolling and we found ourselves at a goat cheese family run operation in north Cloverdale on Saturday morning.  The owner was all to happy to give us a tour of their new operations.  Most impressive.....and the goat cheese is to 'die for'.
Looking  for the 'kids'  - baby goats that is!

We walked over to these 8 month old goats.  They should be milking in about another three to four months.

Most interesting goat farming operation.

Can't help but like these nice faces.

Even the guard - Llama - had to check us out to make sure we weren't a threat to the little goats.
Following the tour, and loading up on fresh goat cheese, we headed further west to Granville Island in downtown Vancouver.
South side of False Creek in downtown Vancouver, BC.

Granville Street Bridge - above.
Having grown up and attended university on the west coast of British Columbia, our children relished being downtown and enjoying the fruits and flavour of Granville Island.  We spent some time here gathering various foods for our seafood barbecue on Saturday evening.

Crowded with shoppers like us.


Jeanette purchasing some fresh veggies.

Deni and Courtney went off in search of some fresh prawns.
Deni is having a long look at those carrots....but we settled for asparagus.

People, people, people everywhere......!
After battling the crowds for an hour or so, we decided to have lunch here and enjoy some of the outdoor entertainment on the False Creek waterfront.

Street light banner.
Looking west toward Vancouver Island.

Deni & Jeanette watching kids feeding the pigeons.

Long lens shot of English Bay.
Following a couple of hours of shopping and touring Granville Island, we headed back for home to prepare our foods for a seafood dinner.
Ready for the barbecue

Preparing the salmon steaks.

Arranging  the asparagus.
It didn't take long for us to get all the food stuffs ready.
On the barbie....

....and in the belly!
Ginette missed out on this great dinner to spend some quality time with several of her best friends.  Deni, Courtney, Jeanette and I really enjoyed this feast.

As with all great visits, it ended far too quickly and on Sunday morning, Deni left with Courtney to spend time with her family and in the early evening,  we drove Ginette back to the Abbotsford Airport for her return flight back to Edmonton.
Deni & Ginette with mom on Sunday morning.

A great weekend though!  Yeah!...the NHL Vancouver Canucks won....and we now are leading the quarter finals by three games to none over the Chicago Blackhawks!!!!  Gotta love that!!!!

Thanks for dropping by.